Senate approves state transportation package

Sound Transit 3 moved one step closer to the ballot in 2016 when the state Senate approved funding for a statewide transportation package by five votes, 27-22, and approved the projects 41-8.


Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville explains why he voted for a gas tax increase for the first time in his 23 years in the legislature. (TVW)

Today’s vote keeps hope alive for ST 3 in 2016, keeps alive $15 billion in transportation repairs and  improvements and sustains movement on a variety of ways to fund local transportation improvements.

The package of investments and reforms now moves to the state House, which approved a different transportation package in 2013.

Earlier this year a House committee approved Governor Inslee’s alternative proposal to increase state funding for transportation and public schools.

Last week House leadership indicated it is committed to transportation, and will take it up when a budget is developed that includes new investment in education.

Lt. Governor Brad Owen cleared the way for today’s gas tax vote when he ruled that a Senate rule requiring a 2/3rds vote for new taxes is unconstitutional.

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