SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- Washington lawmakers decided to tour the state to get feedback on the state’s gas tax, which is among the highest in the nation.
At a meeting Wednesday night in Spokane Valley, State Transportation officials asked citizens to help them find better ways to spend the money that was already available without raising taxes. Gas taxes comprise the majority of revenue for highway and road projects and maintenance.
“Folks in my county have no appetite for increased taxes at all,” said Spokane Valley Senator Mike Padden.
“The price of gas is already too high,” said local resident Jim Robinson. “When I moved to Spokane it was 75 cents a gallon.”
In 2012, a bill went through the House that would have raised the state gas tax by ten cents a gallon. The Senate rejected the increase.
State legislators have since proposed ideas that would not require raising the gas tax, including making sure toll bridge dollars are spent on transportation, streamlining environmental requirements on new projects, and moving sales tax revenues to the transportation budget.
“In 50 years we'll spend more money on roads and less on transit. We might as well start that now,” said Dave Campbell at Wednesday’s public forum.
State lawmakers planned a few more stops in western Washington to gather feedback before moving forward with any plans.