December 8, 2014
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WSDOT report: Freight congestion could cost $3.3 billion, 27,000 jobs by 2030

The newly-released Washington State Freight Plan, said to be the most comprehensive such study ever done, outlines how the state could lose more than 27,000 jobs by 2030 without substantial improvements to the freight transportation network.

That would mean a $3.3 billion hit to the economy, according to the report, since freight-dependent businesses support 1.5 million jobs in the state, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

Among the plan’s findings:

  • 3,700 miles of highway need preservation work, but current WSDOT funding will only pay for a third of that.
  • Short-line railroads are in such poor shape that many can only support speeds of 10 mph.

The Herald reports that Gov. Jay Inslee is inviting state House and Senate transportation leaders to weigh in on a new version of a multi-billion transportation plan before it is released publicly. The plan will fund maintenance and safety work, as well as completion of projects such as state routes 520 and 167, as well as work at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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New 'business-blue' coalition focuses on protecting Washington's trade status

By Eric Schinfeld, Washington Council on International Trade

As an advocate for international trade, I'm fortunate to work with some of the most innovative global brands in America today, witnessing companies whose efforts both distinguish them across the globe and also bring jobs and prosperity back to America's middle class. Last week, following our annual Washington Trade Conference, I introduced a panel discussion convened by partners from Keep Washington Competitive, a new coalition of business and labor leaders.

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Opinion: Gov. Inslee and Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce should carefully consider climate policy

By Mike Elliott, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

The low-carbon fuel standard the governor is considering by way of executive order could raise prices at the pump anywhere from 13 cents a gallon to $1.50. I'm told the purpose of the fuel standard is to encourage sustainable fuel production and use, with the ultimate goal being a reduction in carbon emissions (largely from cars and trucks operating on our roadways).

When considering climate change on a global scale, few would dispute the need to seek reductions in carbon emissions. But without a thorough understanding of potential impacts on fuel prices and, ultimately, jobs connected to transportation costs, further study of the fuel standard as a means of achieving reduced carbon emissions is warranted. While I'm all for lower carbon, cleaner fuels and better efficiency in our cars, trucks, industrial processes and lives, I cannot support taking action without knowing for certain we're not sending jobs out of the state or, worse, overseas where few standards, if any, exist.

READ MORE: Click here for the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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