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Congress Approves Reauthorizations for Highways Funding & Ex-Im Bank

Posted By Chris Johnson, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thanks to our members and strategic partners across the country for helping achieve the congressional reauthorizations for a five-year highway and mass transit bill that will increase infrastructure funding, reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, and implement an important permit streamlining provision.

The President signed the bill into law last Friday, December 4. The Bellevue Chamber was part of a large grassroots coalition organized by the US Chamber of Commerce that has spent the past 18 months working these efforts.

Funding - The bill provides $305 billion over five years for highways and mass transit, without an increase in taxes. It will provide an immediate boost in spending in 2016-a 5.1% increase for highways and an 8.8% increase for mass transit. It will give states the certainty they need to undertake long-term projects and to begin to address the backlog of much-needed transportation and transit work. This bill represents enormous progress following years of short-term extensions with no increase in spending levels.  

Ex-Im Bank
- Our state, which is heavily dependent on Trade, was an advocate for the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. Our letters in support were part of a large grassroots engagement championed by the US Chamber the last 18 months. Our economy relies on exports. In fiscal year 2014, Ex-Im Bank provided financing or guarantees for $27.5 billion in US exports.

Permit Streamlining - The permit streamlining provisions in the highway bill will improve and speed up the review and approval of permitting for complex development projects, ensuring that projects are not unnecessarily delayed or canceled because of ineffective and uncoordinated reviews by federal agencies. It is one piece of regulatory and permitting reform that is important to the business community.  

Washington State Projects - Good news: $1.6 billion has been included in the 2015-18 federal TIP for road and transit capital projects in the Evergreen State.

Examples include:

  • Bellevue 120th Avenue NE Corridor Project - $6,479,075
  • I-405/SB Coal Creek Interchange - ITS Improvements - $220,500
  • I-90/WB Mercer Slough to W Lake Sammamish Parkway Paving –  $5,476,389
  • SR-520 - I-5 to Medina - Stage 1, Design Build SR 520: Medina to I-405 and SR 520 Pontoon Construction – approximately $283,000.000

 Links: Complete AWB news article, and project list.

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