Sportbike World banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,998 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,798 Posts
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Hurricane Katrina is figuring prominently in the campaign for a gas-tax revolt thousands of miles away.

As post-Katrina gasoline prices hover near the $3 mark in the West, Washington state voters have a chance on Nov. 8 to overturn a 9 1/2-cent gas tax hike the governor and lawmakers green-lighted in a rush of optimism a few months ago.

But Gov. Christine Gregoire and other advocates of an ambitious new 16-year transportation plan are specifically raising the specter of Katrina's destruction of New Orleans as a sales pitch for keeping the $5.5 billion tax increase.

The Gulf Coast devastation underscored the need to get ready here, the governor said. In the West, that means preparing for the Big One — an earthquake that could sink Washington's floating bridges or topple Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double-decker bayshore freeway that carries over 100,000 motorists a day.

Computer models show the viaduct collapsing or toppling in a quake and other bridges also are considered at risk.

"The viaduct is our levees," Gregoire said, drawing a direct parallel between the rickety viaduct and the levees that left New Orleans vulnerable. "The earthquake is our hurricane."

But critics of the largest highway tax hike in state history say it's a bad, bloated program that won't fix congestion. And they say using the Katrina angle is an unseemly scare tactic.

Initiative 912 would largely undo the Democratic Legislature's multibillion-dollar transportation fix. More than 400,000 voters, stirred by conservative talk radio and sticker shock at the gas pump, qualified the measure in near-record time.

Pollsters have produced conflicting results. Independent pollster Stuart Elway reports a steady erosion of support for a measure that many once considered a slam dunk. His September poll shows it failing; other pollsters have it ahead.

Initiative foes have launched a media campaign that will top $2 million, with financing from Bill Gates and Microsoft, Boeing and other heavy hitters. They're outgunning the proponents 10-to-1.

The initiative would erase a 3-cent increase that went into effect in July, as well as the increases that lawmakers approved in advance for the next three years.

The new tax, fully implemented, would cost the average driver about $1 a week more, the state Department of Transportation calculates.

If repealed, the tax would revert to the old rate of 28 cents a gallon. At the current 31 cents, Washington is tied for eighth highest.

The campaign follows Oklahoma voters' overwhelming rejection of a nickel-a-gallon increase last month.

In many states, governors and lawmakers are considering rebates or tax freezes to ease the pain of soaring gas prices. Washington Republican lawmakers requested a three-month suspension of all state gas taxes. Gregoire and Democrats rejected that.

In September, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly defeated a nickel increase in the price of gas, and eight cents for diesel. The initiative, the state's first since 1987, was proposed to raise money for road and bridge repairs.

Also in September, Hawaii's wholesale gas prices were tied by state law to those of select mainland markets, an attempt to save island motorists from unfair prices at the pump.

The Washington state initiative would erase $5.5 billion in gas tax revenue and bond proceeds over the next 16 years, gutting the most ambitious construction program ever approved for Washington.

The plan included money for 274 highway and bridge projects in every corner of the state, including $2 billion for the viaduct.

I-912 sponsors say the big tax hike was overly ambitious, particularly given the pinch of gas prices and the jittery economy. Without giving specifics, they insist that Olympia should make better use of existing revenue.

The runaway prices at the pump "do help our cause," said organizer Brett Bader. "People are struggling."
If I got all this right, the states are taking advantage of high gas prices to increase the gas tax? I'd expect that sort of thing from gas companies, but not from gov'ts..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,992 Posts
Kevlar7R said:
Without reading the article, I will add a thought.

A lot of retailers took a loss on gas to keep things affordable during the price spike. Stations around here were selling gas below cost to keep customers happy. They deserve to recoup their losses. Thats just business.
Now I read the article, and it pretty much backs up what I just said. :)
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top