Bill would send pot money to ferries, Narrows, first respondersFebruary 8th, 2014 by ed friedrich
Everybody’s going to want a piece of the pot pie.
Rep. Jesse Young, the Gig Harbor Republican who was appointed to new senator Jan Angel’s seat barely two weeks ago, introduced a bill Friday to use part of the tax revenues from marijuana sales to fund the ferry system, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and fire and police departments.
That would be great for our area. Young would spend $1.25 million to operate and maintain Washington State Ferries and put $625 million in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fund to try to prevent further toll increases. I think he’s talking about per biennium.
Nearly $1.6 million would go to cities and $625,000 to counties to distribute to fire departments, with like amounts for police.
“With the transportation package seemingly stalled, adequate funding for transportation will be hard to come by,” said Young, who sits on the House Transportation Committee. “It’s not good enough for us in Olympia to simply throw our hands up and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ We need action now, and the new revenues that will come from marijuana offer us a unique way to help out our ferries, and either prevent, or at least offset, potential future toll hikes on the Narrows bridge.”
The ferries for more than a decade have taken money designated for highways to cover their operating expenses. Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls will reach an average of about $6 in a few years and if traffic doesn’t increase could go even higher. There’s still more than 20 years to pay on the bonds.
The Washington Liquor Control Board is reviewing applications for marijuana producers, processors and retailers and should begin issuing licenses soon.
The initiative that legalized recreational pot — 502 — directs revenues remaining after administering the program to health care, drug abuse treatment and education.