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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

No Deal On Washington Gas Tax Package, Talks To Resume In January

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Governor Jay Inslee has a light moment with transportation co-chair Senator Curtis King, R-Yakima after announcing there is no deal on a gas tax package.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s hopes for a gas tax package agreement before the end of the year have been dashed.

The Democrat announced Wednesday evening that with no deal at hand, talks are over for now, but will resume in January.

Inslee made his announcement flanked by House and Senate transportation leaders. It follows a dozen negotiating sessions in recent weeks. Among the roadblocks to agreement: a dispute over whether to put sales tax proceeds from transportation projects back into transportation instead of the state’s general fund.

Nonetheless, Inslee says the negotiations did result in the bridging of some differences. Previously he said he wanted a transportation package by the Apple Cup in late November.

Asked what the new deadline is, Inslee joked, “It’s still the Apple Cup. It’s just the next Apple Cup rather than 2013. Look I have always believed that this is just of the utmost importance for the economy of the state of Washington.”

Senate transportation co-chair Curtis King, a Republican, says “never say never,” but getting a deal in an election year could be difficult.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."