Oregon rethinks low-carbon fuels standard

The fate of a new, much-needed transportation package remains an unknown in the protracted budget negotiations in Olympia. House Democrats even asked their transportation chair, Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41) to cease negotiating with her Senate counterparts until an operating budget deal is struck. Talks did finally resume today. While not surprising, it’s too bad the […]

Transpo package shouldn’t be delayed over low-carbon fuels standard

As negotiations over the state budget drag on in during this second overtime session, a statewide transportation package will continue to languish until a budget deal is reached. The transportation package is sitting there, ready to go. Legislative leaders largely agree on the size of the package, the projects it will build, and how it […]

Six “good little bills” for smarter government

“This is a good little bill,” legislators like to say on the floor when they’re urging their colleagues to vote yes. It’s a common Olympia-ism that evolved from a catchphrase to a pat cliché to a standing joke (they’re all good little bills to someone). But “good little bill” is an apt description for some […]

Tolls coming to I-405; state needs to get it right

Washington needs a new round of transportation investments to boost our economy, and I believe the constitutionally-protected gas tax is the best way to pay for those improvements. There is no doubt though, as cars become more fuel efficient and more people choose electric vehicles, that the gas tax will decline as a stable funding […]

Could it be? Progress on transportation

Last week’s announcement of a transportation package funded by an 11.7 cent increase in the gas tax is a promising development. Now is a good time to fund needed improvements through a gas tax. Even with an 11.7 cent increase, gas would still cost significantly less per gallon than at this time last year. Transportation investments […]

Even some enviros question LCFS schemes

The state Dept. of Ecology released a “discussion document” this week regarding the Inslee administration’s possible low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), which aims to reduce the carbon-intensity of fuels. The public is invited give comment to Ecology regarding an LCFS program, which is outlined here. The LCFS process is going forward in Washington just as some […]

A smart idea emerges from a near-tragedy

Looking back at the collapse of a portion of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Spring 2013, it still seems somewhat miraculous that, on such a busy freeway, no lives were lost that day. Soon after the collapse, the state Department of Transportation acted quickly to replace the collapsed section and get people […]

Transpo 2015: Carbon taxes a risky revenue source

The problems with the governor’s proposed transportation package begin with its revenue source. By basing the package on an all-new cap-and-trade carbon taxing system, the package’s finances start on shaky ground. The Seattle Times called the carbon tax-based transportation financing “imaginative, but untested and risky.” To ask legislators to pass, in this session, the cap-and-trade […]

Transpo 2015: Gov’s bonding plan goes too far

Gov. Inslee’s transportation proposal, which relies on a his proposed cap-and-trade carbon tax system to finance new highway projects instead of gas taxes, would still leave in place the existing gas tax at current levels. It’s what he chooses to do with that existing gas tax that has many in Olympia thinking this isn’t a […]

Transpo 2015: Beware attempts to get around 18th Amendment

I’ve already noted some of my objections to the idea of financing transportation projects through a cap-and-trade carbon tax rather than a gas tax (see Gov’s transportation plan isn’t honest about who will pay). We’ll be exploring a few more reasons this week that this is the wrong idea at the wrong time. It’s fair […]