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Council narrowly approves resolution supporting state’s transportation investment package

The City Council narrowly passed a resolution supporting the State’s 2013 transportation investment package that includes funding for the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway project, along with foot ferries.

The vote was 4-3 with Council members Cindy Lucarelli, Jim Colebank and Jerry Childs opposing the resolution during the May 28 meeting.

The State Legislature is considering a 12-year, $9.5 billion Transportation Revenue Package. The current transportation revenue being collected is allocated to paying debt services on completed projects.

To fund new projects, the State is looking at a 10-cent gas tax increase over a 5-year period.

“The increase gas tax could have huge consequences,” Lucarelli said. “The fees would get passed on to us.”

Lucarelli said she wants more information on the entire transportation package and she would like to see the gas tax go before the voters.

Before approving the resolution, some Council members had problems with some of the language contained in the resolution.

After moving action on the resolution to the end of the agenda, it gave City Lobbyist Briahna Taylor time to formulate language for an amendment to the resolution to satisfy the Council.

In the original resolution, the Transportation Investment Package provides critical funding for key projects throughout the state, but specifically allocates $3.46 million for the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway project, as well as the provision of funding for foot ferries.

Councilman John Clauson said the original resolution didn’t define the support or approval to the City for funding.

The resolution stated the City takes an official position in strong support of a comprehensive transportation investment package, including direct funding and funding options for local governments.

“To me, that’s the meat of this resolution," Clauson said.

Councilman Rob Pataansuu said his support of the resolution depends on the state funding the pathway project.

After about 30 minutes of discussing the resolution, Councilwoman Carolyn Powers made a motion to move the item to the end of the agenda. It was passed.

Taylor’s amended version — approved by the Council 5-2 — stated the City would take a position of strong support of the package provided it includes a significant allocation of funding for the pathway project which approximately $3.46 million remains unfunded.

Public Works Director Mary Dorsey said the $3.46 million was the original estimate for the pathway project, but some grant money has already been used on the project.

In the House Transportation Revenue Proposal, the gas tax would increase 5 cents the first year, 3 cents the following year and 2 cents the third. The Senate proposal would increase the gas tax 5 cents the first year, 2 cents the following two years and 1 cent the fourth year.

For Port Orchard, the House proposal has $3.46 million allocated to the pathway project, while the Senate version would need to add the project. It would also allow Kitsap Transit to create a passenger-only ferry district within its boundaries which includes Port Orchard. The district would be able to raise revenue using a .6-percent sales tax, parking tax, tolls, license fees and charges for advertising, leasing space and other activities.

 

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