Jay Inslee announced his transportation budget proposal at a press event overlooking the State Route 520 floating bridge expansion project earlier today. Inslee promised his proposal would address our state’s “most pressing transportation needs — fixing bridges and roads and boosting the ferry system while cleaning the air and water.” Inslee’s transportation plan, called “Let’s Move Forward,” costs $12 billion.
Yet, his solution was a cap-and-tax plan that was rejected by state legislators when then-Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed it years ago.
Our green governor proposes to fund his $12 billion plan with bonds, fees and a cap-and-tax on “industrial polluters.” Of course, that means a tax on gasoline and other fuels. Inslee, who calls his cap-and-tax a “market-based carbon pollution charge,” said that the tax will “generate $7 billion over 12 years.” The cost, claims Inslee, would be an additional 12 cents per gallon of gas.
Of course, Inslee ignores whatever economics education went along with the economics degree he claims to have received in college, telling reporters that businesses wouldn’t pass along their higher fees along to consumers, or as Inslee called them, “commuters.”
After inferring that polluters should be burned, Inslee concluded that his transportation plan was a “pretty elegant solution for the state of Washington.” His exact quote,
“Transportation pollution paying for transportation solutions. It’s not our children’s lungs that should be burned. It should be polluters.”
Inslee listed various transportation projects in his “Let’s Move Forward” plan including $1.4 billion on the completion of the SR 520 bridge, $1.3 billion on Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Renton, $2 million for work on state highways 509 and 167, $278 million for Interstate 5 improvements near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and $432 million for work on U.S. 395 from Francis to the Spokane River.
Inslee also declared his desire for the ferries to shift from using diesel to “cleaner natural gas”—the cost of doing so remains unknown. Altogether, Inslee promised “more than half the state dollars will go toward new construction and economic development.” Additionally, a quarter of state dollars “will be aimed at maintenance, operations and preservation.” Finally, 20 percent will go to “clean transportation and public transportation,” spending that would not necessarily be allowed if Inslee sought a gas tax, since gas tax revenue is supposed to be spent on roads, not the transit Inslee prefers.
Referring back to his promise to supporters that he would “make polluters pay,” Inslee said that his plan is “two-fer” because “we can clean our air and water at the same time we are fixing our air and our roads.” According to Inslee, all this would and could be done because of “a new and bold idea that will breathe new life” into Washington State—a cap-and-tax plan.
Yes, so bold is his idea that Inslee wouldn’t even speak its name – cap and tax – and even though he pointed out he was just copying California (link to TVW)
The Seattle Times reports that, according to an Inslee aide, the cap-and-tax plan is “part of a proposed program to put a hard cap on the state’s carbon pollution and then allocate permits to major polluters.” Inslee will introduce this proposal tomorrow.