House Republican transportation lead Rep. Andrew Barkis responds to the Democrats’ proposal to massively increase the state’s gas tax

Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, released the following statement on the House Democrats’ proposal to massively increase the state’s gas tax to fund transportation projects:

“As I listened to the House Democrats rollout their transportation revenue proposal, the first thing that came to mind were all the people across our state who are truly struggling to make ends meet. 

“Like the families still waiting for their unemployment check to show up and wondering how they will put food on their table; or the small business owner praying today is the day they can finally open their doors because tomorrow will be too late to survive; or to all those people who are having a hard time keeping up and paying their rent; or to our rural communities that depend on our highways and byways the most; or to our most vulnerable populations traveling to a COVID-19 vaccination site.

“I also question their decision to increase the gas tax, and then layer on a carbon tax. Given our current circumstances, this does not seem like a way to provide social justice or equity. I do not feel we should be putting environmental needs above people right now.

“It is no secret we have a transportation problem in this state, and that our priorities have become misplaced. We should be working on reprioritizing our budget to work within our means by focusing on existing revenue and shifting the sales tax revenue paid on vehicles from the operating budget to the transportation budget. We also need to address the backlog of preservation and maintenance projects, and complete all projects in a timelier manner, with less regulatory burdens. Republicans continue to offer real solutions that are fiscally responsible and do not raise taxes.

“My intention is always to work in the spirit of bipartisanship to produce a working budget. I respect House Transportation Committee Chair Fey for all the stakeholders he spoke with during the interim; however, the spirit of bipartisanship was set aside when my Republican colleagues and I weren’t asked to have a seat or a voice at the table during these discussions.

“We should be working together to find common ground, rather than having this massive tax increase dropped on us. This type of strategy will make the budget- writing process more difficult this year. The people of Washington state deserve better.”


Washington State House Republican Communications