Washington mayors, including Vancouver's Leavitt, call for gas tax hike

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photoMayor Tim Leavitt of Vancouver, left

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The mayors of more than 40 cities across Washington, including Tim Leavitt of Vancouver, have sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders, urging them to consider an 8-cent-per-gallon gas tax as a way to help pay for transportation needs.

The letter from the Mayor's Transportation Forum was sent Wednesday. Among the signees were Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, as well as the mayors of Bellingham, Federal Way, Tacoma, Olympia and Walla Walla.

In addition to the gas tax increase, the letter suggests a motor vehicle excise tax increase of up to 1.5 percent that counties could enact by public vote or by a vote by county commissions, and the increase to the vehicle license fee from $20 to $40. The license fee could also be increased either by public vote or by a vote of local councils.

The mayors say more than $3 billion is needed to maintain roadways and bridges in the state over the next 10 years. Democrats in the state House are expected to introduce their transportation proposals next week.