The Transportation Revenue legislative package may have died in the Senate over the weekend, but local business leaders say the fight isn’t over. They had fought diligently for it as a funding source for the completion of State Route 167 from Puyallup to Port of Tacoma.
“It’s time to come back to the drawing board. We just can’t stop,” said Tom Pierson, president and CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.
Pierson has been a vocal advocate for the package, which would have increased the gas tax by 10 ½-cents to fund a multitude of projects, including the completion of SR 167. For him and many other business leaders, last week was a rollercoaster.
The package failed in the House on Wednesday, but passed in a revote Thursday. Then, it sat on the backburner in the Senate, where it eventually died Saturday afternoon. Members of the Majority Coalition Caucus seemed to have more objections to its inclusion of an Interstate 5 bridge at Vancouver and the proposed gas tax hike than to SR-167 per se.
“It’s a huge letdown and disappointment, but I still see there’s pathway for us to get this done. The sooner the better,” said Pierson. “I think we should look at it as we might have lost a battle, but that doesn’t mean we can’t win the war.”
There will be more extensive coverage of the next steps in the July 8 Business Examiner edition.