December 7, 2015
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Congress passes first federal highway bill in nearly a decade



After a decade of short-term fixes and kicking the can down the road, last week Congress finally struck a long-term deal on transportation funding. The five-year, $305 billion package includes a 15 percent increase in highway spending and an 18 percent increase in transit spending.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is the first law in more than 10 years to provide long-term funding certainty for highways, transit lines, and other surface projects. It comes after 36 short-term extensions of the last long-term funding act.

The transportation bill includes funding for hundreds of projects in Washington. The federal Department of Transportation has this summary of the bill.

The bill does not include a fuel tax increase, which will remain at 18.4 cents per gallon. Funding for the bill comes from selling oil from the Strategic Reserve, cutting bank dividends from the Federal Reserve and pulling from Fed reserves.

For more on state and federal transportation policy, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis.



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Becoming a Top Ten State

Opportunities begin here in Washington state

By AWB President Kris Johnson and Washington Roundtable President Steve Mullin

The central Puget Sound region and Washington have long been a center of global trade.

A look behind the numbers, however, reveals that many Washingtonians are falling behind. And far too many young people fail to get the education they need to succeed and compete for great jobs being created by Washington employers.
Click here to read the full op-ed from Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin
Investing in Jobs

Boeing incentives are good for WA

By Rob McKenna

We're not talking about tax giveaways here; they're incentives to keep incredibly valuable airplane manufacturing right here in Washington. Our state benefits enormously from Boeing's presence. Just ask governors and business leaders in other states -- they'd love to have even a fraction of Boeing's high-tech manufacturing jobs in their states.

That's why it's somewhat amusing to see the showy handwringing in Olympia recently about these incentives. The tax incentive package passed overwhelmingly in a special session in November 2013 precisely because most state leaders grasp that the economic activity Boeing produces, the high-paying jobs it provides, and the taxes it generates far outweigh the theoretical value of the tax incentives.

Simply put, the incentives are a good deal for the state of Washington -- no handwringing needed.
Click here to read the full blog post at Smarter Government Washington
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