Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants carbon tax to fund transportation infrastructure

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a carbon charge on industrial polluters to help pay for the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Inslee hopes to fund a $12 billion plan with bonds, fees and a carbon charge. The market-based carbon pollution charge would generate $7 billion over 12 years, according to an article in The Olympian. The fee would generate the equivalent of a 12 cent gas tax without hurting consumers, Inslee claims.

“Transportation pollution paying for transportation solutions,” Inslee said, according to The Olympian. “It’s not our children’s lungs that should be burned. It should be polluters’.

“It’s a pretty elegant solution for the state of Washington.”

Inslee claims the state will face a 52 percent drop in its maintenance budget and 71 bridges will become structurally deficient if the Legislature is not able to pass a transportation budget soon.

Republican state Sen. Curtis King, who will chair the Transportation Committee in January, opposes Inslee’s “carbon pollution charge” saying it falls short in many areas.

“At least we know where he wants to go, but I don’t believe he has enough money to go around the state,” King said, according to The Olympian, adding that the proposal fails to fund a number of projects. On the governor’s carbon pollution charge, King said, “he wants to call it a charge, but I would call it a tax.”

Inslee’s proposal for a “carbon pollution charge” is proof that he’s thinking outside the box, but would it work? Share your thoughts in a comment below!