Inslee: Make big polluters pay for transportation projects
By Mike LindblomAfter two years of watching gas-tax increases tank in the Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed Tuesday to take a new approach: Charge major polluters for the right to emit carbon.Inslee’s plan, featuring a “cap-and-trade” system, would generate $400 million a year, he said, to cover nearly 40 percent of his $12 billion, 12-year transportation improvement plan. The remainder would come from bond debt, existing gas taxes, tolls and an assortment of vehicle fees.
“We can clean our air and water at the same time we are fixing our air and our roads,” Inslee said in Medina, overlooking the 520 construction site. “It is indeed a twofer.”This program would send energy consumers all the signals to help more toward a more sustainable energy system for the state of Washington.
Inslee, who is spending the week rolling out his budget wish list, is expected to announce further details about his Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, with his full budget proposal to come Thursday.What the Democratic governor did make clear Tuesday is that in the face of Republican gains in the Legislature, he is holding fast to his idea that climate-change legislation can pay for much of government’s costs.The governor said he aims to reach across the so-called Cascade Curtain and connect all of Washington through a “bipartisan spirit” that aims to “reduce the hours we spend on the roads away from our families.”