Republicans delay transportation package

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House Republicans, expected to announce their transportation reform package on Monday, have delayed the proposal's release because the bills are still being drafted, according to Brendon Wold, a caucus spokesman.

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 funding the state's most crucial transportation needs.

Wold said he expects the package to be unveiled later this week. Republicans announced last week it would be released Monday, but staff didn't have enough time to finish the 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 designate 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 during 10 years. It would, in part, be paid for by a gas tax increase of 2 cents every year for five years.