GOP wants transportation funding to ‘get REAL’

By on Thursday, November 18th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

OLYMPIA – Washington state Republican lawmakers want the Legislature to “get REAL” with transportation funding. They have released a new state plan called the REAL Act, which stands for Reprioritizing Existing Appropriations for Longevity.

The Republicans say their plan would use untapped surplus money from the state’s general fund to complete long-standing, unfinished highway projects. Taxes from the sales of vehicles would also be redirected from the growing general fund toward maintenance and preservation of highways, roads, and bridges.

“The bills that I am proposing can raise approximately $3.2 billion a biennium without raising taxes,” Rep. Andrew Barkis (R-Olympia), the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee said. “This is using existing revenue coming into the state of Washington, reprioritizing it from the general fund, and putting it into the transportation arena.”

Barkis said his goal is to stop the increase of taxes with each new round of transportation funding.

“The REAL Act is our pathway and opportunity to rejuvenate our way of thinking and move away from the antiquated and obsolete way of state budgeting,” he said. The 2022 session of the Washington Legislature begins Jan. 10.

Photo from Rep. Andrew Barkis’ home page