House Republicans delay transportation package release

They expect to offer information about transportation reform plan later this week

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OLYMPIA — State House Republicans, who were expected to announce a transportation reform package today, have delayed the proposal's release because the bills are still being drafted, according to House Republican Caucus Spokesman Brendon Wold.

House Republicans are working on a package of transportation bills that they say would reduce the state's transportation costs. If those savings are achieved, Republicans said they might be more likely to put money toward the state's most crucial transportation needs.

Wold said he expects the package to be unveiled later this week. Republicans announced last week that the package would be released today, but staff didn't have enough time to finish the transportation proposals, especially while working to meet a bill deadline on Friday in Olympia, Wold said.

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, is expected to sponsor at least one of the bills in the transportation package, Wold said.

Unlike the House Democrats' transportation package, a funding proposal that specifically doled out $450 million for the Columbia River Crossing project, the Republicans' bill package is not expected to earmark money for any specific transportation project.

The Democrats' package would allocate nearly $10 billion to the transportation system and is projected to create 56,000 jobs in 10 years. It would, in part, be paid for by a gas tax increase of 2 cents every year for five years.