King selected to lead Senate transportation committee

During a meeting of Senate majority lawmakers Monday, Sen. Curtis King was chosen to chair the Senate Transportation Committee. As head of the committee, King will steer the transportation agenda and bill proposals, as well as write the biennial transportation budget.

It is anticipated that the agenda will focus on passage of a reform and transportation-revenue package. King has spent the legislative interim touring the state and meeting with local and regional officials to identify top infrastructure needs.

“Every corner of our state is facing critical road and bridge issues,” said King, R-Yakima. “The need for a new reform and transportation-revenue package is not limited to one side of the state or another. The high-profile fiascos have further cemented my contention that we need department of transportation reforms before we cut another check. I’m hopeful that those who haven’t wanted to see accountability are finally ready to listen to the folks they represent,” said King.

An executive order signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in April that calls for statewide carbon reductions is expected to play a significant role in transportation-budget talks as well. While specifics have been scarce, many scenarios have been floated from the governor’s office in an effort to gauge public reaction. 

“The bottom line of every one of the governor’s carbon-reduction plans has Washington citizens paying more at the pump, to heat their homes and for anything that is transported to market. None of these increased costs will pay for new roads, safety enhancements or expanded transit routes. Instead the governor would have us all pay for an ideological issue and questionable decrease in carbon output.

“We can make smart, environmentally sound transportation decisions that don’t hamstring every family in Washington. This is not a matter of earth versus roads. We can have policies that both protect the environment and make our transportation system work,” said King.

“Governor Inslee’s office recently sent a letter outlining his plan to draft a transportation package that will focus on maintenance, safety and existing infrastructure. I am looking forward to seeing the details of his proposal,” said King.

In addition to transportation, King will also serve on the Commerce and Labor, and Rules committees. The upcoming legislative session will begin Jan. 12 and is scheduled to last 105 days.