Gas tax may power ferries

A gas tax being considered by the state Legislature could, if adopted, make the ferry system financially stable for more than a decade.

David Moseley, assistant secretary for the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division, met with Coupeville business leaders at a Tuesday morning chamber of commerce meeting, and highlighted a package of bills that he said would make the ferry system financially stable for the next 12-15 years. But that stability comes at a price.

The legislature is considering adding a graduated gas tax over the next three years and the ferry system would get a piece of the money raised through that tax. According to a recent draft of House Bill 1954, motorists would pay an additional 5 cents per gallon starting in August 2013; an additional 3 cents per gallon starting in July 2014; and an additional 2 cents per gallon starting in July 2015.

Another bill, House Bill 1955, under consideration by the legislature would sell $110 million in bonds that would pay for vessel construction and terminal renovations.

Moseley said during the meeting held at the Coupeville Public Library that the tax would raise $9.6 billion over the next 12 years and the ferry system would receive $1 billion of that amount.


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