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Gas Tax Hike Would Help Fund Red Mountain Interchange – Is It Necessary? [POLL]

Artist Conception of New Red Mountain Interchange Project
(Courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation)

Newstalk 870 reported earlier this week the Washington State Transportation Committee was going to push for a 10-cent gasoline-tax hike at the pump.

Wednesday, the Department of Transportation and Transportation Committee rolled out an ambitious list of projects they wish to see built in the near future. What is called the Red Mountain Interchange would be funded by this plan. The $27.5 million construction would be two-fold:

First, the intersections at Highways 224 and 225 would be replaced by building a round-about and eliminating two stop signs. Then, access to I-82 would be improved with a new interchange near Red Mountain and a new connection from SR 224 to the Interstate near Benton City.

Benton City and West Richland officials have wanted such improvements for some time to increase ease of access to the growing area, and spur residential and commercial growth.

However, the project is tied, with others, to a pair of tax increases: the gas hike and a 0.7 percent motor vehicle value tax. These would fund a large portion of the funding needed.  Several other smaller taxes would be enacted, including a tax on bicycles that cost over $500.

Some legislators are wary of hitting taxpayers with another hike, especially in tough economic times. Either way, to pass the measure would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature, or a majority vote in Olympia and then voter approval.

What are your thoughts? Should the taxes be passed to build the project? Take our poll.

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