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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."

Washington Lawmakers May Vote On 11.9 Cent Gas Tax Increase

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

Washington’s gas tax would go up nearly 12 cents per gallon to fund road projects under a deal struck between Democrats and Republicans.

The hike is part of a transportation package unveiled Monday at the Capitol.

The $16 billion transportation package would fund the next 16 years of transportation projects. More than half would pay for state and local road projects such as a new freeway between Tacoma and Puyallup and completion of the North Spokane Corridor.

The package also includes about $1.4 billion for highway maintenance and $1 billion for transit and alternative modes of transportation.

The biggest chunk of funding would come from raising the state gas tax 11.9 cents over three years. If it passes, it would be the first time in a decade that Washington lawmakers have approved a transportation package and gas tax increase.

As part of the deal, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee has agreed to let stand a Republican provision he calls a “poison pill.” It would take money away from transit and put it into road building if he implements a low carbon fuel standard.

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."