Washington State House Democrats yesterday stopped negotiations on a transportation revenue package until a deal is reached on the state operating budget.

According to Everett’s Heraldnet.com, House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn, (D) Mercer Island, said she was asked to temporarily halt talks with Senate Republicans, which have been going on for weeks. Clibborn says both sides were close to coming to agreement on a transportation funding package that would include a gas tax increase to fund projects across the state.

The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate are currently in a second overtime legislative session after adjourning both a regular 105-day legislative session and a 30-day special session without reaching a budget deal.

Some state offices may have to close completely if a budget isn’t signed into law before midnight June 30, when the current two-year budget expires.

As far as transportation packages go, both the House and Senate are looking at $15 billion plans that include an incremental gas tax increase.

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