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House GOP support flagging for transportation package

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 26, 2013 at 10:13 am | No Comments »
June 26, 2013 10:13 am

The House plans a vote today on transportation funding, but support among minority Republicans seems to be peeling off.

Rep. Linda Kochmar
Rep. Linda Kochmar

Federal Way Rep. Linda Kochmar was one of two House Republicans who had publicly indicated they are open to a package of tax increases to fund roads — the other is Rep. Hans Zeiger of Puyallup — and one of perhaps four that Democrats were eyeing as possible supporters. 

But Kochmar said this morning: “I’m probably going to be a ‘no’ unless a miracle happens.”

She said Democrats didn’t agree to enough Republican amendments or enough reforms to the way the Department of Transportation spends money.

And she opposes phasing in the whole proposed 10 1/2 cent gas tax increase so quickly, by July 1, 2014. Moving up the dates is actually an idea that came from Senate Republicans. But Kochmar said many businesses can’t handle such a big increase so quickly.

She also said the spending list is full of questionable items, like bike paths and light rail on the Columbia River Crossing bridge. “I think the whole thing needs to be reworked.”

But one of the key reasons seems to be that House Republicans don’t see it surviving in the GOP-dominated Senate.

“I’ve heard repeatedly that it is either going to be dead or have a referendum hung on it” in the Senate, sending it to voters, Kochmar said.

GOP Senate Floor Leader Joe Fain has said there’s interest in transportation funding but the Senate’s priority is getting a budget deal done.

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