By Austin Jenkins, November 7, 2013, KPLU
As Washington lawmakers convene in an effort to win production of the next Boeing 777x, there’s already a dispute over whether one of the must-haves is a gas tax package for transportation improvements.
Gov. Jay Inslee insists the time is now, but some lawmakers say road funding can wait.
The governor has outlined a special session agenda that includes a roughly 10-cent gas tax hike to maintain roads and build new ones. He says the issue is a key priority for Boeing as well.
“We need a transportation package in order to secure this aerospace future for the state of Washington,” Inslee said.
In a follow-up interview, Inslee said a gas tax package can’t wait until next year. But Sen. Rodney Tom, a Democrat in charge of a largely-Republican coalition caucus, doesn’t sense the same urgency from Boeing.
“You know, transportation is important, but they understand, due to the complexities of it, that it might have to be a second phase element to this. So that’s the assumption that we’re working under,” said Tom, D-Medina.
Boeing has not commented so far. Either way, the governor’s timeline of a week to hammer out a bipartisan roads-and-transit funding deal will be, in the words of one top House Democrat, “an uphill battle.”