Sen. Phil Fortunato on the Senate floor. COURTESY PHOTO

Sen. Phil Fortunato on the Senate floor. COURTESY PHOTO

It’s time to fully fund transportation, Fortunato says

Auburn senator proposes legislation

  • Sunday, February 4, 2018 2:09pm
  • News

For the Reporter

Sen. Phil Fortunato’s proposal on transportation funding will receive a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee Monday.

The measure, Senate Bill 5564, would fundamentally change how the state pays for transportation infrastructure projects by providing a stable and fair alternative to the unpopular vehicle mileage tax proposal. Fortunato’s plan, Fully Fund Transportation, uses existing state sales tax dollars on the sale of motor vehicles to provide additional funding for the gas tax account to build roads.

“The transportation infrastructure needs of the state are staggering,” said Fortunato, R-Auburn. “From the need to replace the Columbia River Bridge to the two small bridges I need for my district, there is a huge need for more funding. At the current rate of expenditure, projects are obsolete before all the connecting projects are done. Rather than reach into the pockets of the people for more tax dollars when they are already taxed to death, especially with the looming carbon tax and income tax proposals on the horizon, we need an innovative solution like the one I’m proposing.”

The proposal uses existing revenue and details a plan to demonstrate how expenditures can return more revenue back to the state to help pay for the proposal. Similar to the assumptions used to justify the recent 11.9-cent gas tax increase, the economic impacts and revenue returns justify the expenditure.

“Some argue that if you just raise the gas tax, it will do all this great stuff for the economy,” added Fortunato. “Well, if that’s true, why do you need to raise my taxes?”

An analysis by the Office of the State Treasurer notes that as more people move to electric vehicles, which the state already subsidizes, gas tax revenue will decline. If gas tax revenue fails to cover the cost of outstanding transportation bonds, the general fund will have to cover the difference. Fortunato’s FFT is a planned and controlled process rather than a panicked reaction to the impending shortfall, he noted.

An economic analysis of the proposal will be available on Fortunato’s website shortly after the hearing.

More in News

11-mile legacy: the history of Green Valley Road; talk is Saturday

From native trail to cow path to major farm-to-market road, Green Valley… Continue reading

Envisioning an Auburn Arts Alley: share your ideas

As Auburn’s historic downtown continues to grow and evolve, the community continues… Continue reading

Utility work to affect Auburn Way North, 10th Street NE to 15th Street NE | Update

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22, through Friday, Feb. 8, utility work by InfraSource… Continue reading

Auburn Food Bank dedicates service Jan. 23 to help federal employees

The Auburn Food Bank is offering a food bank service Wednesday, Jan.… Continue reading

Responding to a cry for help

United Way of King County’s Family Resource Exchange serves hundreds of homeless at Green River College

Microsoft will invest $500 million toward regional housing

Mayors of nine cities — including Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish — have pledged to help

Auburn School Board recognizes outstanding staff member

The Auburn School District Board of Directors recognized Chris Telford, jewelry teacher… Continue reading

City offers assistance to federal employees

Late fees, service interruptions suspended for furloughed Auburn residents

Measles investigation in King County; infected man was at Auburn, Kent, Covington locations

Local public health officials are investigating a suspected measles infection in a… Continue reading

Most Read