State gas taxes are now 44.5 cents per gallon, on top of the federal tax of 18.4 cents. The total gas tax in Washington state comes out to 62.9 cents per gallon. The increase was part of a $16 billion transportation revenue package that will fund various transportation projects over the next 16 years. The package was approved by the legislature and signed into law by the governor earlier this summer, but the tax bump finally went into effect this weekend.
The gas tax will increase by another 4.9 cents per gallon next summer as well. According to the American Petroleum Institute, next year's increase will put Washington's state gas tax at 49.4 cents the second highest in the country, behind Pennsylvania.
Republican Senator Curtis King, of Yakima, acknowledged that "Nobody likes to have a tax increase. But we haven't been as diligent on maintenance and preservation as we've needed to be. We need to invest in that to get caught up."
Indeed, the cost to the state may be much higher if they were to find themselves without a dedicated source of revenue in the face of infrastructure that needs repair. And given the state of the roads and bridges across the country, it's quite possible that other states will begin to follow suit.