March 14, 2019

Hobbs seeks middle ground on new transportation package

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
Sen. Steve Hobbs, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, addresses the March 14, 2019 AWB Lobby Lunch in Olympia. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

State Sen. Steve Hobbs is open to working with Washington’s employer community as he searches for a middle road to secure support for a $15 billion transportation package in the 2019 legislative session.

Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, headlined AWB’s Lobby Lunch event Thursday in Olympia, and told business leaders he generally opposes charges on carbon because the money they raise does not go to transportation needs.

Hobbs’ proposal does include a carbon fee as well as impact fees on developers and a 6-cent per gallon gas tax increase that would fund transportation and environmental projects throughout the state, The Seattle Times reports.

“I believe we need a more moderate, centrist approach,” Hobbs said.

AWB members ask questions of Sen. Steve Hobbs, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, during the March 14, 2019 AWB Lobby Lunch in Olympia.
Washington employers recognize the need for additional transportation spending, but oppose the carbon fee and impact fee proposals.

In 2017, AWB partnered with cities, counties and ports to produce a comprehensive report that outlines an estimated $190 billion in infrastructure needs throughout Washington. AWB and its partners are currently working to update this report.

This work is complemented by the National Association of Manufacturers recent “Building to Win” campaign that supports a new infrastructure bill at the federal level.

The funding from the Hobbs proposal, outlined in SB 5970, SB 5971 and SB 5972, would go to highway maintenance and preservation, fix road culverts critical to salmon survival and help pay for a new bridge on Interstate 5 between Washington and Oregon.

Hobbs, who worked with employers and others to pass the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package, encouraged the business community to stay involved and continue to work with him throughout the legislative process.

“I’m still open, right? There’s still changes that I can make. And I’m willing to make those changes,” he added.