July 13, 2015
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House, Senate pass $16.1 billion transportation package; the first major investment in a decade

"VICTORY!" the Port of Tacoma proclaimed Friday after the House voted to pass a 16-year, $16 billion statewide transportation package. The package will pay for long-delayed plans to extend four-lane state Route 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma and a new stretch of state Route 509 from Sea-Tac Airport to I-5.

The package also has major investments elsewhere in the state, from the North-South Freeway in Spokane to projects in the Tri-Cities, as well as important reforms that will help ensure taxes are spent efficiently.

"I don't think it's sunk in yet," Gov. Jay Inslee said about the impact the upgrades and repairs will have for travelers, shippers and commuters. "This is the first time in 10 years that we've been able to make badly needed transportation investments in our growing and thriving state."

Moments after the House voted in favor of the final bills for transportation, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, tweeted, "A complete transportation package has been sent to the governor's desk for his signature. This is a good day."

"This whole effort to get a transportation package is marked by bipartisan compromise," said Democratic Rep. Judy Clibborn, the House Transportation Committee chairwoman. “It hasn’t been easy, but nothing is easy that is worth doing."

"It took longer than anyone wanted, but we are pleased that lawmakers approved the first statewide transportation reform and revenue package in a decade," said AWB President Kris Johnson. "It is past time to invest in Washington’s roads, bridges and highways."

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Export-Import Bank helps employers compete globally

By U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Kris Johnson

With the creation of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank over 80 years ago, many Washington state businesses -- both large and small -- have remarkable success stories to tell about growing their businesses because of exports.

These stories can be found throughout the Washington state in a variety of industries. Take for example, Seattle's Lighthouse for the Blind, a manufacturer of machine parts and molding for aerospace companies. Because of its robust export business supported by the bank, it is able provide more than 400 good-paying jobs for Washingtonians in the deaf-blind community. ...

Congress must act to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank charter. The consequences of doing nothing would be devastating to employers and employees in Washington state and around the nation.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Hill

Our Voice: Lawmakers make right choice supporting gas tax

By the editorial board of the Tri-City Herald

Voting in favor of a significant tax hike is not easy for lawmakers from conservative legislative districts.

So the Mid-Columbia legislators who approved an 11.9-cent gas tax increase should be commended for having the courage to make the right decision. ...

Tax hikes are tough to take, but at least in this case the Tri-City area will get some benefit from the new revenue.

And that is thanks to several Mid-Columbia lawmakers who made the right, but tough, choice...

Click here to read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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