From the News Tribune:
House Republicans look nearly ready to roll out a set of proposed changes to the transportation system, which they had planned to outline earlier this week as a response to Democrats’ call for higher gas taxes. Republican bills introduced today would:
- Abolish a build-in-Washington requirement for state ferries. Introduced by Rep. Ed Orcutt of Kalama.
- Require shorter, 15-year terms for transportation bonds. Introduced by Rep. Mark Hargrove of Covington.
- Exempt future state transportation projects from paying sales tax. Introduced by Rep. Jason Overstreet of Lynden.
- Require the Department of Transportation to report to the Legislature on engineering errors costing more than $500,000 — such as the recent problems with pontoons built for a new Route 520 bridge, or the misplaced ramp on the Nalley Valley Viaduct. Introduced by Rep. Steve O’Ban of Lakewood.
- Give design responsibilities to contractors, rather than DOT, for all highway construction projects costing more than $5 million Introduced by O’Ban.
Lawmakers, agency heads and Gov. Jay Inslee will speak today to the state’s largest labor-union coalition, the Washington State Labor Council, at the group’s legislative conference.