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Show Your Support for International Trade

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Washington is commonly known as the most trade-dependent trade state in nation. Not surprisingly, our Members of Congress from both parties have generally supported pro-trade legislation. However, in the current political environment, attacks on free trade are escalating.

Here’s the chance to sign a letter urging Congress to take action in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership this year.

The President and business leaders in DC are still pushing as hard as possible for a November vote, and we want to demonstrate that our state’s trade community is very much in support of that effort.

The US Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) have asked for our help. The Bellevue Chamber urges elected officials of both parties in Congress to affirm the TPP – please consider adding your name in support.

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Policy Committees to Complete Review of ST3

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Come join us for the final joint policy committee meeting dedicated to the proposed ST3 ballot measure. The Chamber Transportation and Public Affairs Committees will convene on Thursday, August 11, 12 Noon at the Chamber office.

We’ll hear from Sound Transit CFO Brian McCartan and Executive Director for Planning Ric Ilgenfritz, who will bring us up to speed on projected tax revenues and expenditures assumed in the plan.

The committees will not be voting up or down on the ballot measure, but will prepare a list of pros and cons to be considered by the Chamber Board later this month.

In preparation take a look at the proposed project list,  ST3 plan project phasing,  ST3 proposed funding and Appendix B: Financial Policies.

Don’t miss this important discussion!


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CURE; Pro/Con Levy Committees Chosen; Construction Updates; Traffic Alerts

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Chamber joins Communities United for Reliable Energy

The Bellevue business community has long enjoyed a competitive advantage of reliable and predictably priced electric power. However, without additional transmission capacity, we could experience rolling blackouts by 2018.

That’s why the Chamber supports Energize Eastside – Puget Sound Energy’s proposal to increase transmission capacity along its existing right of way. Now we’ve taken the next step and joined Citizens United for Reliable Energy (CURE) – a grassroots coalition of individuals, businesses and non-profits, united in the belief that dependable electric power is essential to our continued prosperity.

The Chamber has signed the CURE online petition – and we invite our members to do the same.

Pro/con committees picked for transportation levy

The Bellevue Council has adjourned for August Recess – but not before performing one last task relating to the proposed fire services and transportation levies. Just in time for an August 2 deadline, committees have been appointed to write pro and con statements regarding each levy, for inclusion on the King County General Election Voters Pamphlet.

Bellevue Proposition 1 – Fire Facilities

Pro: Michael Eisner, Jeanne Elliott, Michelle Hilhorst        Con: Pamela Johnston

Bellevue Proposition 2 – Transportation, Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Relief

Pro: Jennifer Robertson, Janice Zhan, My-Linh Thai          Con: David Plummer

Upcoming construction closures and traffic alerts

Southbound lane on 110th Avenue NE reopened

Good news for those who conduct business in the City Center Plaza and Skyline Tower. Sound Transit's contractor has completed pre-tunneling work under 110th Avenue NE and reopened a southbound lane to through traffic. Southbound traffic can now directly access garages for both of these buildings.

For additional information regarding related construction alerts, visit the East Link project web page.

Mark your calendar for the upcoming operational changes to the I-90 center roadway express lanes.

  • Sunday, Aug. 14 - The I-90 express lanes will close at 6 a.m. then open westbound from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a Seattle Sounders FC soccer match. The lanes will open eastbound by 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 20 - The I-90 express lanes will close at 6 a.m. then open westbound from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for a Seattle Mariners baseball game. The lanes will open eastbound by 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 21 - The I-90 express lanes will close at 4 a.m. for the Women of Wonder Triathlon. The lanes will open westbound by 11 a.m. for a Seattle Mariners baseball game and a Seattle Sounder FC soccer match then close at 7 p.m. The lanes will open eastbound by 8 p.m.


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Policy Committees take up Sound Transit 3; Next Meeting August 11

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 22, 2016

The Chamber’s Sharp Executive Boardroom was filled to capacity on July 12 for a joint Transportation and Public Policy Committee meeting regarding ST3 – the proposal adopted by the Sound Transit Board and placed on the November ballot.

Sound Transit staff member Luke Lamon provided a complete inventory of projects and proposed expenditures for East King County, with special emphasis on Bus Rapid Transit, which is posted below.

Now we’ve invited Sound Transit staff back to address the revenue side of the package – and to answer our questions about budget projections for East King County.

Please join us on Thursday, August 11, 12 Noon at the Chamber office, for what promises to be an informative discussion.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Sound Transit  ST3 

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Chamber Testifies on Levies & I-405 Tolls; Bellevue Arts Fair Closures

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 22, 2016

Bellevue Council Steps Closer to Fire Services and Transportation Levies

On July 18, the Council reviewed draft ordinances for fire services and transportation tax levies. In order for these measures to make it to the November ballot, the Council needs to act by July 25.

As currently drafted, the fire services levy would be set at 12.5 cents per $1,000.00 of assessed value – and the transportation levy would be pegged at 15 cents. We’ll report back after the Council takes final action, but you can listen to my testimony during communications – oral and written.

Transportation Commission Hears Comments on I-405 Tolls

As reported in the last Bellevue Blitz, the state Transportation Commission took public testimony regarding proposed permanent changes to Electronic Toll Lane (ETL) Operations on I-405. Keeping people and goods moving on I-405 has been a Chamber priority for more than 15 years, and we are still carrying the message to Olympia.

Hear my testimony before the Commission in favor of permanently eliminating tolls on nights, weekends and federal holidays, and check out the results of the East King Chambers Coalition survey on the toll operations as posted below.

Bellevue Arts Fair Traffic Closures

The 70th annual Arts Fair Weekend is nearly upon us! We expect over 300,000 visitors – rain or shine - to Downtown Bellevue during the weekend of July 29 – 31. Plan your trip to the Fair carefully, avoid planned street closures and consider alternative transportation.

By the way, one street which will be open is 114th NE/SE – behind the Chamber office. After a three month closure, this important arterial is back in full two-way operations from NE 2nd all the way to SE 8th.

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  levies 

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Policy Committees to Focus on Sound Transit 3

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 8, 2016

The Sound Transit Board has adopted the ST3 System Plan and voted to place it on the November general election ballot. To prepare for a Chamber Board decision on this proposal, we’ve scheduled two special joint meetings of the Transportation and Public Affairs Committees.

  • Sound Transit staff presentation, plus Q/A – Tuesday, July 12, 7:30 AM at the Chamber office.
  • Committee review and discussion – Thursday, August 11, 12 Noon at the Chamber office.

We’d like these discussions to be representative of the diverse opinions within the Chamber on this matter, so all members are invited to these special meetings.  For background, check out the ST3 System plan project list, as well as ST3 funding background and ST3 plan project phasing information.

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Chamber Comments on Proposed Fire Services and Transportation Levies

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 8, 2016

Right after the Fourth of July, I provided public comment before the Bellevue Council regarding possible fire services and transportation levies.  Here’s an excerpt from my prepared remarks.

“Now, the Chamber is generally not first in line requesting general property tax increases. And while we have not yet taken a position on whether or not to support a levy package, here are a few principals that will guide us.


  • Transportation projects should represent benefits across a wide range of neighborhoods and travel modes, and include both new capital projects and maintenance.
  • In order to justify a property tax levy for transportation, a minimum of one third of levy proceeds or approximately $2 million annually, must be allocated to major capacity or congestion relief projects.
  • Specific examples of major capital projects which will provide neighborhood congestion relief and connectivity include, but are not limited to Bellevue Way SE, 150th Ave. SE/Eastgate Way SE and the intersection of 148th NE/NE 8th.

Our members and their employees alike, live and work in Bellevue, and they need both inter and intra neighborhood congestion relief."


To hear my entire remarks and other live testimony, click on Council Agenda Item 4, Communications – Written and Oral.

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Bellevue Potential Levy Survey; Bellevue Way SE Survey; Latest and Greatest on I-405 Tolls

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, July 7, 2016

Update – Bellevue Fire Services and Transportation Levies

The City of Bellevue recently held three Neighborhood Safety Open Houses to solicit feedback on proposed fire services and transportation levies (see previous blog of June 16, 2016). If you missed the meetings, you can still fill out an online survey regarding potential levy priorities, through July 31.

Bellevue Way SE Project Online Open House and Survey

If you missed the Bellevue Way SE Project Community Open House, it is not too late to participate in an online open house and help shape project alternatives.

Fixing this major arterial is one of our top priorities for Bellevue’s Capital Improvement Program, so don’t delaycheck out the online open house and take the survey by July 15 – so do it today.

Latest and Greatest – I-405 Express Toll Lanes

Earlier this year, the WA State Transportation Commission adopted an emergency rule, eliminating tolls on nights, weekends and federal holidays. On July 19, the Commission will consider making these changes permanent and the Chamber will be there testifying in support. Attached is the proposed permanent rule.

In the meantime, get the latest information on toll rate changes and how to register your out of town guests and their vehicles on your Good To Go! account.




 Attached Files:

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ST Tunnel, Bellevue Way Survey, Potential Ballot Measures

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, June 16, 2016

Work Resumes on Entrance to Sound Transit East Main Tunnel

Anyone who participated in the Spirit of Bellevue Run/Walk last month got a first-hand look at the clearing and grading at 112th SE and Main Street. Now the work continues, including intermittent lane closures, as Sound Transit crews begin utility relocation work, in preparation for sound wall construction later this year.

Bellevue Way SE Project Open House and Online Survey

As Bellevue has grown, traffic has increased along Bellevue Way, creating congestion between I-90 and the “Y” intersection with 112th Ave SE. Visitors to the Bellevue Way SE Community Open House held on June 15 at City Hall, had the chance to view preliminary design options up close and ask questions of City Staff. Learn more about the project and take a survey at the project webpage. This project is a top priority for the Chamber, so complete the survey by July 15, 2016.

Public Comment on Potential Ballot Measures

The Bellevue City Council is considering two potential ballot measures this November, one for fire services and the other for neighborhood traffic safety and connectivity.

The initial discussion has focused on two levies of $0.125 per $1,000.00 of assessed value, each generating $5 million per year over a twenty year period. The Chamber Transportation Committee is taking a look at how the transportation levies could benefit both connectivity and congestion relief, and will make a recommendation soon.

In the meantime, take an online survey or attend one of the following open houses, each from 5 – 7 PM.

  • June 28 -- Bellevue Youth Theatre
  • June 29 -- South Bellevue Community Center, community rooms A & B
  • June 30 -- City Hall, room 1E-108


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Bellevue Way SE Design Alternatives Analysis

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 16, 2016

June 6 Update: Bellevue Way SE Project community open house is now scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 5-7 PM at Bellevue City Hall. See attached brochure for more information.

Traffic volumes are building on Bellevue Way SE and the City is exploring design options for an additional southbound lane, between the “Y” intersection with 112th SE and the existing park and ride lot.

While planners are assuming the new lane will be configured for HOV, the decision has not yet been finalized.

Similarly, there is no funding yet identified for construction and the project is not expected to begin until after the opening of the new South Bellevue Station 2023.

Adding capacity to Bellevue Way SE has long been a priority for the Chamber. We can have a major impact on the preferred alternative, help secure funding and support accelerated implementation .

Fill out the attached survey and return via USPS or bring it with you to the community open house.

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Bellevue Way SE 

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