Rep. Manweller amendment to remove road-user charge pilot project from transportation budget fails, amendment to add money to rail fund passes

Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, offered two amendments to the proposed House state transportation budget during debate on Thursday.

Manweller's first amendment would have removed a $3 million pilot project to look at creating a road-user charge or vehicle miles travelled pay as you go system, but the amendment failed by a vote of 48-49.

“There are a number of issues surrounding this pilot project. Any type of system that would charge road users for vehicle miles travelled is unfair to those of us in eastern Washington. We obviously have to travel greater distances to work, go to the store, get kids to school,” said Manweller. “That doesn't even get into how you would implement this type of a system with six million cars on the road. Privacy issues are also a huge concern. I don't think many people in my part of the state are excited about the government having GPS devices on their cars so they know how far and where you have driven each day.”

Manweller's second amendment, that could provide up to $20 million for the essential rail account, was adopted.

“These funds may potentially assist eastern Washington short lines and the state Department of Transportation owned railways to get fresh produce and grains to market,” said Manweller.

The amendment would allow any balances in the multimodal account to be transferred to the essential rail account at the end of the biennium.

The budget did pass by a vote of 78-19. The House and Senate will work to iron out any differences they have between their proposed  transportation budgets before the Legislature adjourns on April 26.


Washington State House Republican Communications