Governor Jay Inslee said on Tuesday he wants to call a special session of the state legislature this fall. But he stopped short of actually doing so.
Inslee is hoping the legislature will okay a major infusion of cash for highways and bus systems in Washington. He said the state's aging roads and shrinking transit systems can't wait any longer.
Inslee: "There is no excuse for inaction, and the order is Winston Churchill's order of the day in World War II, which is: action this day. We need action."
While Inslee has the authority to just call the legislature into session, he put a big IF on his call for action.
Inslee: "I will call a special session if we can show the votes for a package that can pass and get to my desk. But we've got to see the votes first."
A $10 billion package of transportation projects, fueled largely by a 10-cent gas tax, died in the state Senate this year. The Republican-led senate majority criticized waste in transportation spending. It also criticized a combined highway and light-rail bridge across the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver. On Tuesday, Inslee said he was open to leaving the Columbia River bridge off the project list. State Senator Rodney Tom said his majority coalition is holding seven public meetings around the state to see how the public wants to move ahead on transportation. Tom is one of two Democrats in the senate's Republican-dominated coalition.
Tom: "We want to make sure that we have a package that works for everybody, not just the special interests in Olympia that love for you to spend money.”
The transportation "listening tour" starts on September 17 in Bellevue and heads around the state over the following three weeks.
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