2013 Transportation Package

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Statement from Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee:

“With prior tax increases, our state built an off-ramp in the wrong place, a ferry that doesn’t work well in Puget Sound and faulty pontoons that may jeopardize the new 520 Bridge project.

“Now, House Democrats want to charge Washington drivers the highest gas tax in the nation at nearly 48-cents-per-gallon, more than doubling it since 2003. When you include federal taxes, Washington drivers would be paying 66 cents in state and federal taxes for every gallon of gas they purchase.

“In addition, we need to stop paying for construction projects over a 30-year period when the jobs they create usually only last for five or ten. We can’t continue down this road of failure and lack of accountability.

“House Republicans understand there are maintenance demands and new projects needed in the future. But any debate on transportation must begin with reforms, not tax increases on struggling workers and families, and not new project lists to entice votes in the Legislature.

“The reforms needed are not just transportation reforms, but economic reforms. The reality is people can’t afford more at the pump right now – especially those out of work or who have to commute long distances because their communities have been decimated by the economy and land-use restrictions.

“Before we even entertain the idea of a gas tax increase, we want to talk about transportation and economic reforms. We will talk more about these reforms next week. If the Democrats are willing to have this discussion, we are willing to work with them.

“We need to see how we can make our tax dollars go further, before we reach further into taxpayers’ pockets.”