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Local leaders to state: Let us tax ourselves for transportation

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Gabriel Spitzer
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KPLU

Local leaders from across King County want to tax themselves to pay for bus service, ferries, roads and bridges, but even local measures would need approval from the state.

The coalition, which includes the mayor of Seattle and more than 40 other cities, want to be able to tack on fees to car tab renewals and vehicle transfers, among others. That requires approval from state legislators.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said local governments should be free to invest in their own infrastructure.

“Although some of these options are not as popular statewide, we know in King Count that people have stepped up and strongly supported maintaining our local roads and transit. We want local options that will meet not only the local need for transportation, but the local political will,” Constantine said.

Constantine also says if a statewide gas tax or other revenue does pass, he wants Olympia to dole out some of the money to local governments. Lawmakers gave King County special authority to temporarily raise car-tab fees two years ago, but that measure is about to expire.

A recent survey found that two thirds of Washington voters think the state needs more money for transportation, but only about half actually support new taxes and fees to pay for it.

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.
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