Senator Steve Hobbs will hold a public hearing on his transportation plan, Forward Washington. Under the plan, a $15 per ton carbon pollution tax would be imposed on the sale or use of fossil fuels to fund a new package of transportation projects in Washington.
The version of the plan which came close to passing last session included billions of general obligation bonds for transportation projects as well as specific sources of revenue to fund them.
Forward Washington is an innovative alternative to existing carbon proposals. Washington’s transportation needs have grown with our population and so has our responsibility to fund things like transit, storm water cleanup, fish passages, safety and other priorities for people across our state. We can implement a solution that moves Washington forward in both our transportation infrastructure and the environment. We have to figure out creative and equitable ways to pay for these shared priorities and Forward Washington does just that,” said Sen. Hobbs.
Last session the bills made it it to the Rules Committee for second reading while the third was given a public hearing the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Carbon taxes have proven to be a tough sell in Washington as voters have rejected several initiatives in the past.
Fossil fuels used to generate electricity in the state would be exempt from the tax.
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A person familiar with the legislation told the Wire that these types of bills usually take three or four years to pass, getting more and more refined with time.
With the passage of I-976 looming over session, some feel there is a chance a renewed sense of urgency could get the legislation across the finish line. The prospect of halting voter approved transportation projects due to I-976
After I-976 passed, Sen. Hobbs expressed concern that the cuts to transportation funding could lead to interagency competition for funding.
The public hearing on Forward Washington is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 5th.