Rep. Andrew Barkis to champion a sustainable and equitable transportation funding model by reimagining state budgeting processes

Rep. Andrew Barkis, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, said today he will champion the Reprioritizing Existing Appropriations for Longevity (REAL) Act at the start of the 2022 legislative session.

Washington state continues to face multiple transportation-related issues, including: a growth in population, which puts more people and cars on roadways; proper and safe movement of goods and services; failing bridges; outdated railways; route cancellations on state ferries; massive staffing shortages; the possibility of a new transportation package with new taxes; and the challenges of balancing the state’s projects with their associated costs.

“Since becoming one of our state’s transportation budget leaders in 2019, I have been the voice for fiscal responsibility, reform, and reprioritization. My goals have been to keep costs down, stop more forced taxes on drivers, and complete projects within existing revenue,” said Barkis, R-Olympia. “Unfortunately, for decades, transportation funding has been tied to the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees. While taxes continue to increase with each transportation package that’s enacted, collected revenues are steadily declining. There are solutions through the REAL Act to address the plateau in transportation revenue while maintaining and creating a transportation system for all Washingtonians.”

The REAL Act will be comprised of solutions and legislation that:

  • Reprioritizes and shifts funding streams to provide better services for all modes of transportation by using growing general fund revenue instead of relying on shrinking transportation revenue.
  • Reprioritizes and directs sales tax paid on motor vehicles to preservation and maintenance of the existing transportation system.
  • Reprioritizes and shifts funding on sales tax paid on transportation projects from the general fund to the transportation budget.
  • Recognizes fish passage barrier projects as inherently correcting environmental justice concerns without further review and process.
  • Creates a program that bridges the divide between transportation safety in urban and rural communities.
  • Pauses the commute trip reduction program while studying the impacts of commuting and travel due to COVID-19.
  • Reprioritizes and shifts the funds for the Safe Routes to School Program to the general fund with direction to better coordinate funding for safe pathways to new schools.
  • Prevents barriers to recruitment and employment for Washington State Ferries that are part of the current employment practices, which make it difficult to recruit women and people from minority and LGBTQ communities. 

“The REAL Act is our pathway and opportunity to rejuvenate our way of thinking and move away from the antiquated and obsolete way of state budgeting,” continued Barkis. “I look forward to fully rolling out this approach to sustainable and equitable transportation funding with my fellow Republican colleagues in the 2022 session. I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner with legislative budget writers to fund Washington state’s needs while reimagining transportation funding – all without raising taxes and placing additional financial burdens on our citizens.”

The 2022 legislative session begins Jan. 10 and will last 60 days.


Washington State House Republican Communications