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Washington lawmakers push driving-related fee hikes

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers are pressing ahead with a series of mostly driving-related fee increases to raise money for road repairs and other transportation needs.

The fee increases, which include an 80 percent hike for driver's licenses, passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee Monday. They would raise an estimated $52 million next year and an average of $80 million each year over the next decade.

The money is a fraction of the $3.6 billion in transportation funds that Gov. Chris Gregoire had sought to secure over the next decade. The centerpiece of her plan was a $1.50 fee per barrel of oil refined in the state.

The barrel fee was declared dead last week by Senate leaders, though a stripped-down barrel fee remains alive in the House.

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