|Sen. Curtis King, ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Andrew Barkis, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, issued this statement regarding the Legislature’s agreement on the 2022 supplemental transportation budget (Senate Bill 5689) and the Move Ahead Washington transportation package (Senate Bill 5974 and Senate Bill 5975).
“Unfortunately, the partisan transportation package from the majority will punish drivers throughout Washington with higher fees and taxes,” said King, R-Yakima. “It isn’t right to make our citizens pay more to own a car. The higher taxes and fees passed today by the majority party, on top of measures they’ve passed in recent years, will make it much more costly to drive. Most people in our state are already struggling with inflation, and now gas prices are rising daily. The legislation passed today will make things worse. I’m disappointed that for the first time in our history, a completely partisan transportation package has been passed with zero input from 20 Washington state legislative districts. Our citizens need relief and deserve better.”
“It’s disingenuous for the majority party to imply this package isn’t going to raise the cost of living on every Washingtonian. Besides the new taxes and fees that are included, a large portion of the intended revenue comes from the Climate Commitment Act passed in 2021. One integral component of the CCA is cap-and-trade, which goes into effect later this year. This will raise the price of gas at the pump even higher than we’re experiencing right now. Washingtonians are still recovering from the pandemic, inflation is at a 40-year high, and gas prices are already at one of the highest rates we’ve seen. This is the wrong time to be pushing this package forward,” said Barkis, R-Olympia. “Republicans from both chambers had solutions that wouldn’t raise taxes and fees on anyone or anything. Given the historic revenue the state is experiencing, we could’ve built a bipartisan package that provided relief to the taxpayers. With existing revenue, we could’ve funded new innovations for our transportation system, while keeping our promise to complete projects already on the books. I’m extremely disappointed the process was partisan and does not reflect the true transportation needs of every corner of our state. Washingtonians deserve real solutions from their transportation leaders and tax dollars.”
Today, both chambers are set to vote on the agreed upon supplemental transportation budget and the Move Ahead Washington transportation package.
The 2022 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Thursday, March 10.