House Republican transportation lead Rep. Andrew Barkis reacts to legislative Democrats’ Move Ahead Washington transportation plan

Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, released the following statement on the Democrats' Move Ahead Washington transportation plan:

“Life has become unaffordable for many individuals, families, and businesses in Washington state. As I listened to the legislative Democrats roll out their transportation plan, the first thing that came to mind was all the people across our state who are genuinely struggling to make ends meet and my concern for another proposal increasing fees.

“In 2021, Democrats passed the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), which they say will be one of the revenue sources for their latest transportation plan. Keep in mind state gas prices are expected to increase when two new taxes, the low-carbon fuel standard, and cap-and-trade, are implemented later this year. Unfortunately, working families will be financially affected by this plan. 

“The majority party claims this plan makes modest fee changes that will not have significant impacts on working families. Some of these fees include but are not limited to: increasing the fees for the enhanced driver's license, which will soon be the only identification people can use to fly domestically without a passport; and increasing the fees on motorcycle and vehicle license plates, which affects every driver in Washington state. What could be perceived as a modest change for one could mean a meal on the table for someone else. 

“This plan does not prioritize, reflect, or solve our state's actual transportation needs, including preserving and maintaining existing infrastructure. Their claim that investing $3 billion in preservation and maintenance as a significant investment is perplexing. WSDOT says they need $1 billion more each year for ten years, so this amount perpetuates the neglect of the roadways that has become systemic through the years.

“House Republicans have a better transportation vision for Washington state. In December, we introduced real solutions based on the premise that our state's transportation needs should be a priority supported by the general fund. We would also shift the sales tax revenue paid on vehicles from the operating budget to the transportation budget. Our plan would address the backlog of preservation and maintenance projects and help get out of WSDOT's way in building infrastructure projects in a timelier manner, with fewer regulatory and environmental burdens.

“Transportation budgeting has always been a bipartisan effort. The spirit of bipartisanship was set aside when my Republican colleagues and I weren't given public hearings on our solutions or the opportunity to participate in the dialogue as this package was crafted.

“We cannot remain divided if we want to address our state's transportation needs. Washingtonians deserve better results from their transportation leaders and tax dollars.”

More information:

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov