The State’s new $16 billion transportation tax package (see below) finally passed the Senate this morning at 5:15 a.m., after being expected to be approved yesterday, according to the Spokesman-Review.

While the bill contains money for highways and bridges, mass transit and ferry projects, and was praised by some as a way to create jobs and boost the economy, opponents labelled it the biggest tax increase in state history. Some suggested it should be put on a ballot to give voters the final say.

Voting didn’t begin until after midnight as Republicans tried but failed to add an amendment that would automatically send the tax increases to the ballot for voter approval.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane said the package is good for Spokane and would keep the community moving forward. For every $1 Spokane County residents are estimated to pay in taxes, they will get $1.29 in projects.

Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, though said the higher gasoline taxes will prompt some drivers to go to Idaho to buy gas, and could prompt businesses to move out of the state.

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