February 19, 2018
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Administration unveils outline of infrastructure plan

With last week’s release of a federal infrastructure plan, a report that AWB and three partner associations produced last year highlighting Washington’s infrastructure needs received fresh media attention. In an interview with KIRO 7 television, AWB's Gary Chandler discussed the major needs, including broadband internet.

"If you don't have broadband, you're not going to get industry to go there," Chandler said.

The interview was based on the joint infrastructure report that AWB produced with the Washington state associations of counties, ports and cities. That report found that the state needs $190 billion in infrastructure investment over the next 20 years. Most of that -- $134 billion -- is for highways and roads. Aviation needs $12.6 billion, and the report also examines needs for water systems, stormwater, and other projects.

"This is mostly not shiny projects, this is stuff in the ground that people don't see, that have been in the ground for fifty years that need maintenance, they need operation dollars," said Peter King from the Association of Washington Cities.

The report also notes the need for $450 million to extend rural broadband, which was a priority identified in last year’s AWB Rural Jobs Summits and the newly released Rural Jobs Outlook report.

Last week, the presidential administration released its Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America, a broad look at its request to Congress for a package to rehabilitate the country's roads, bridges, tunnels and other key infrastructure points. The plan aims to use $200 billion in federal spending over the next 10 years to spur another $1.3 trillion in local investments.

"It happens to be an area that can unite Republicans and Democrats. There isn't any partisan infrastructure," said Eric Johnson of the Washington Public Ports Association.

The Spokesman-Review also covered the issue.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, or Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for infrastructure, to learn more.

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B&O Tax Relief for Manufacturers
Support All Manufacturers

AWB tells House committee, 'It's time to let all manufacturers win'

By Jason Hagey, AWB

AWB President Kris Johnson called on lawmakers to lower the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for all Washington manufacturers, not just those in some parts of the state, during a hearing Friday before the House Finance Committee.

In its current form, Substitute House Bill 2947 would lower the B&O rate for manufacturers in 30 counties. It would leave out nine counties, including many that consist largely of rural areas, such as Kitsap and Benton.

"It's time to let all manufacturers win," Johnson said, echoing language that Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Ballard, used during a floor speech last week on a separate measure aimed at boosting Washington's boat manufacturers. "We're going to let our fishing fleet win," Tarleton declared before the House voted 97-1 in favor of her bill.
Read the full blog and watch the video at Olympia Business Watch
Preserving Local Commitment

Avista sale is good for customers, community

By Scott Morris, CEO, Avista Corp.

Six months ago, Avista and Hydro One announced plans to combine and form one of North America's largest regulated utilities. Since that time, as we've moved toward closing, our confidence has only grown in the benefits of this merger for all of our stakeholders, from our customers and employees to our shareholders and the communities we serve.

Given the central role that Avista plays in its service territories, both as an energy provider and a member of the community, we understand why customers and community members want assurances that they will continue to receive safe, reliable and high-quality energy at a fair price and that Avista will continue to be an active corporate citizen.

The short answer is that the proposed transaction is designed to help preserve -- and even enhance -- Avista's commitments to its customers and its communities. In a changing industry landscape, joining forces with Hydro One will help safeguard Avista's proud legacy and way of doing business...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
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