Letters to the Editor

Opposed to raising gas tax | Letter

I am opposed to raising the gas tax.

Whatever happened to all that federal stimulus money we received just four years ago for Washington’s transportation projects? Our share of $787 billion should have exceeded $15 billion. It seems to me that should have solved a lot of the state’s problems.

Washington state gas tax is currently 37.5 cents, the second-highest in the nation, and the federal tax is an additional 18.4 cents. This, plus all of that stimulus money still isn’t enough?

The 520 floating bridge study and design, alone, exceeded the cost of the original bridge. After all of that expense the new bridge is running several hundred million dollars over cost due to a flawed design by state employees. Bus lanes in Seattle were recently painted on a road that busses don’t even travel on. These are only a couple of examples of waste that never seems to be addressed by government other than telling the taxpayer there’s a need for more money.

When Gov. Inslee was a candidate, he was opposed to any new taxes, and of course now that he’s in office, well…he’s not only anxious to raise taxes but wants a special session at additional taxpayer cost, to do it now, just one month before the Legislature meets for its normal session.

Road projects require state sales tax be charged for materials, which sends already-taxed monies into the general fund for other legislative spending. This of course increases road costs unnecessarily. Sales taxes should not be charged on any projects, state or local.

The expedited replacement of the I-5 bridge that collapsed earlier this year would indicate that, at least, some projects can be completed in an expedited manner.

King 5 news recently reported that there is always a fully manned state ferry “just in case” there’s a problem. Is this a responsible use of tax dollars?

There are some who want to build the Columbia Bridge Crossing, which is highly promoted by Oregon legislators. It would include light rail, requiring a much lower bridge which would not allow freighter traffic to travel up the Columbia to deliver merchandise. This is another flawed design that must not be allowed.

Finally, I understand that the DOT wants to change carpool lanes to three occupants instead of the current two. My wife and I travel to Bellevue twice a month and use the lanes. We do not have an option for a third person to ride along and I’m sure many other folks would not either. It is imperative to move people and goods in this state, not impede them. I urge legislators to resist this proposal. Personally, I’d like to see all lanes opened to traffic.

Tom Heunisch, Federal Way

 

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