Gas tax going up Aug. 1, as Inslee signs $16 billion transportation package

SEATTLE (AP) — With the State Route 520 Bridge construction behind him, Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed the bills making up a $16 billion transportation package at the University of Washington.

The package, which includes an 11.9 cent gas tax hike over the next two years, provides money for projects and maintenance across the state.

The gas tax will go up in two stages: a 7-cent increase on Aug. 1, and a 4.9-cent increase on July 1, 2016.

The plan spends $8.8 billion on state and local road projects and $1.4 billion on maintenance and preservation. An additional $1.3 billion will go to non-highway projects, such as bike paths, pedestrian walkways and transit. It also will allow Sound Transit to ask voters to pay for potential expansions of its rail line.

The bipartisan package took nearly three years to negotiate. The governor estimated it would create about 200,000 jobs.

The governor did not veto language on a low-carbon fuel standard, even though he disagreed with that section, because he said the overall package was too important to veto.

But he did veto a small provision concerning beaver dams that pose a threat to highways.