Peeved at the pump

POULSBO — As local resident and small business owner Mike Gillespie fills up his Ford F-150 truck with a fresh tank of gas at the Chevron station, he can’t help but be troubled by the high price he’s paid at the pump, a mixture of high oil prices and increased taxes.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Gillespie, who owns Sound Builders. “We’re taxed to death in this state. It’s tough to even make a living now. I love Washington — but I’m thinking of moving.”

On the opposite side of the station, Marti Lewis of Bremerton, who is capping off her Lexus RX 300, also is baffled by the skyrocketing cost of fuel. However, she believes the higher price will help fix the state’s deteriorating road infrastructure.

“I don’t like paying the tax,” she said, “But we need the roads. Look around you — we need new highways, new roadways.”

So begins what is likely to be the most controversial issue on the November 2005 ballot.

Voters will be asked to decide the fate of a massive $8.5 billion transportation package, approved by the legislature this year, that would increase the gas tax by the largest margin in state history — 9.5 cents over four years.

A yes vote on Initiative 912, which was certified for the ballot Aug. 8 when more than 400,000 signatures were turned into Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office, would repeal the tax and cancel many slated transportation projects, including ones in Kitsap County.

A no vote supports the legislature’s decision to renovate much of the state’s road infrastructure, including Seattle “mega-projects,” the Alaskan Way

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