- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - With the State Route 520 Bridge construction behind him, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bills making up a $16 billion transportation package on Wednesday at the University of Washington.

The package, which includes an 11.9 cent gas tax hike over the next two years, provides money for projects and maintenance across the state.

The plan spends $8.8 billion on state and local road projects and $1.4 billion on maintenance and preservation. An additional $1.3 billion will go to non-highway projects, such as bike paths, pedestrian walkways and transit. It also would allow Sound Transit to ask voters to pay for potential expansions of its rail line.

The bipartisan package took nearly three years to negotiate. The governor estimated it would create about 200,000 jobs.

He signed the bills even though he disagreed with a section on a low-carbon fuel standard, because he said the overall package was too important to veto. It was not possible to veto just that section, according to his spokesman.

But he did veto a small provision concerning beaver dams that pose a threat to highways.



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