State business leaders respond to proposed transportation package

The Association of Washington Business, Washington state’s largest private employer association, was one of several stakeholder groups invited to participate at the press conference where Rep. Judy Clibborn announced the transportation bill.

“AWB and the 8,000-plus employers we represent are uniquely qualified to understand the transportation challenges facing our state because it affects them and their employees on a daily basis,” said Mike Ennis, transportation policy director for AWB. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Rep. Clibborn on this proposal and thank her for her leadership on this issue. Mobility is integral to creating jobs, remaining competitive and improving our quality of life.

“Today’s proposal represents a starting point in this conversation about transportation investments. We look forward to working with lawmakers on making sure the finer details are fair and meaningful to businesses.”

Earlier this month, AWB released its own transportation report highlighting the importance of a healthy transportation network, as well as the problems plaguing Washington’s current network. The report, “Transportation Infrastructure in the State of Washington,” identified billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure needs that are considered critical to business growth. They include some big-ticket items such as the completion of a north-south freeway in Spokane, a new highway 520 bridge in Seattle and a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, as well as regional projects including increased rail service in Moses Lake, Wenatchee and Yakima, and the Red Mountain Interchange in the Tri-Cities, completion of Highway 167 in Pierce County and improving the highway 509 freight corridor.

“The reality is, we have incredible demand and very limited resources to address infrastructure preservation and the construction of new projects,” added Ennis. “The challenge between now and the end of session will be striking the right balance between all of the state’s needs and the appropriate funding mechanisms.

“We are committed to working with Rep. Clibborn and other transportation stakeholders on a plan that meets our state’s transportation infrastructure needs.”

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