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Chamber Members Can Support International Trade

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement signed with eleven Asian nations earlier this year, has been in the news quite a bit lately. Presidential candidates from across the political spectrum have taken markedly different positions on the TPP, with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders attacking it from different angles.

We often hear that Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation, but don’t take my word for it. The Washington Council on International Trade, a 501c(6) organization affiliated with the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, has posted a guest blog from US Secretary of Commerce Penny Prizker, “Creating Washington State Jobs Through Trade.”

If you agree, write your Members of Congress and let them know. To make it easy, WCIT has created an online petition, endorsed by the US Chamber, so don't delay, do it today.

Tags:  Trans-Pacific Partnership  Washington Council on International Trade 

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Construction Alerts – Early June

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2016

East Link Light Rail Construction Update – Prepare for mid-block closures on 110th NE, between NE 4th and NE 6th, beginning June 13 and lasting through early September. The purpose of the closures will be to conduct CLSM work – replacing existing soil with a denser product more appropriate for tunneling. Check out the full construction alert.

If you have left the Chamber office recently, you know that 114th SE is closed from Main Street to SE 6th, with local access only from NE 2nd to Main. Additionally, SE 8th Westbound is down to one lane between 112th SE and 114th SE.

While not construction related, motorists should be aware of upcoming changes to toll rates on SR 520. Beginning July 1, 2016, Good To Go! Pass holders will see a 5% toll rate increases on both weekdays and weekends. If you don’t have a pass, expect an increase of $2 per trip. 

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Bel-Red Plan Focus Group - Your Feedback Needed

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2016

The Bel-Red Plan and zoning code were adopted by the Bellevue City Council back in 2009. Here is your chance to provide feedback to the City as to how the Plan is working – or needs improvement.

Focus groups will occur on June 15, 12 Noon – 1:30 PM; June 16, 6 – 9:30 PM; June 17, 8-9:30 PM. All meetings will be held at City Hall Room 1E—108. Register or get more information here. 

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Chamber Weighs-In on Sound Transit 3

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, May 16, 2016

The formal comment period on the ST3 Draft Plan ended on April 29 and the Bellevue Chamber has provided direct feedback. During the month of May, Sound Transit will review all comments, prior to likely adoption of ST3 ballot measure in June.

The Chamber Transportation Committee has been busy scrutinizing the draft plan, with a particular emphasis on those investments proposed for East King County. The comment letter adopted by the Chamber Board reflects Committee input, as well as a survey sent out to Chamber leadership.

As in the past, the Chamber’s top transit priority is to support implementation of Bus Rapid Transit in the I-405 corridor and construction of adequate park and ride capacity to support the system. Similarly, the Chamber sees extension of East Link light rail from Overlake to DT Redmond as a potential “early win” for East King taxpayers.

Please take a look at our current letter, as well as the draft plan map and project list. We'll have a pro-con discussion on the final ST3 plan in July or August. 



Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Bus Rapid Transit  East Link Light Rail  I-405  Sound Transit  ST3 

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2017 Legislative Wrap-Up

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, May 2, 2016

Legislators from both sides of the aisle turned out in force for last week's 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up. Held by the East King Chambers Coalition, this annual event never fails to produce fireworks.

To nobody's surprise, there was sharp disagreement as to why a Special Session was needed to close a $200 million gap in the Supplemental Budget. Senator Andy Hill (R-45), chair of Senate Ways and Means, faulted House Democrats to task for proposing new taxes and spending in a supplemental year. Representative Tana Senn (D-41), responded that state agencies which provide core services are chronically underfunded.

Everyone agreed that 2017 will be the year to fix basic education and end reliance on local school levies. Representative Chad Magendanz (R-5) favors increasing the average state property tax levy, while Representative Patty Kuderer said it is time to consider new revenue sources, including income and capital gains taxes.

Regardless, all legislators agreed that despite the state's over-reliance on the Business and Occupation Tax, relief for small and medium-sized businesses will be unlikely in 2017.

Help shape the Coalition's advocacy agenda by joining one of the Bellevue Chamber's policy committees; contact Chris Johnson for details.

Tags:  Representative Chad Magendanz  Representative Judy Clibborn  Representative Larry Springer  Representative Luis Moscoso  Representative Patty Kuderer  Representative Tana Senn  Senator Andy Hill  Senator Joe Fain  Senator Mark Mullett 

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Advocacy Round Up: SeaTac Airport; New 520 Bridge Closure; Construction Alerts

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, April 15, 2016

The Future of SeaTac Airport

Anyone who has flown in or out of SeaTac Airport recently, knows it is bursting at the seams. Port staff recently briefed our Public Affairs Committee on the Sustainable Airport Master Plan. Stay tuned and help shape Chamber feedback to the Port on this vital project.

SR 520 closure will complete move to new bridge starting April 22

Westbound traffic is already moving across the new SR 520 floating bridge. Soon the bridge will be open to Eastbound traffic – after a final full bridge closure next weekend, April 22 – 25. All lanes between Montlake Blvd. and 92nd Ave. NE will close at 11 PM on Friday and reopen 5 AM on Monday. More details are available at the WSDOT project webpage.

Sound Transit Construction Alert

As a part of the East Link Light Rail Project, Sound Transit will begin demolishing properties on April 18, in the vicinity of 112th SE and SE 1st Place.

For more information regarding temporary sidewalk and lane closures, hours of construction and the permanent closure of SE 1st Place, visit the East Link Project webpage.

Extended Closure of 114th SE in Bellefield Area

The construction season is upon us and the City of Bellevue will continue work to upgrade the Wilburton Sewer Main. This means 114th SE will be closed to through traffic between SE 6th and SE 8th from Monday, April 18 through early July. Track the project here.



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A New Twist on Spring Cleaning

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter is here and now it is time to clean out your closet. The good news is damaged clothes aren’t garbage anymore – now you can “threadcycle” them. That’s right – instead of taking up space in a landfill, your used clothing and shoes can be reused or recycled for industrial use.

For more information, see the attached news release from the City of Bellevue Utilities Department or check out the “threadcycle” website.



 Attached Files:
Threadcycle .pdf (197.08 KB)

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Open House for Newport Way Upgrades

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, March 25, 2016

With all the focus on how to get in and out of Downtown, we don't want to overlook the rest of Bellevue. For those who have waited many years for improvements to SE Newport Way, your time has arrived.

The City of Bellevue is holding an open house on proposed upgrades to this important corridor.

Event details: Wednesday, March 30, 5 - 7 PM at the South Bellevue Community Center, 14509 SE Newport Way.

Check out the full news release.



Tags:  Bellevue  Eastgate  Factoria  Newport Way 

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End of Session Update

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, March 21, 2016

Session Update

The Regular Session of the Legislature ended on March 10 – with no agreement on a supplemental budget. Leadership now has 30 days to work out a deal – the biggest roadblock being use of the “rainy day fund.” Forest fire suppression will likely qualify, but negotiators are miles apart on using emergency dollars to boost teach salaries or to fight homelessness.


Charter Schools Still In Business

Just 24 hours before adjourning, the House passed SB 6194 – keeping charter schools open for 1,100 students across the state. Public charter schools are now codified in state law and have a funding source – the WA Opportunites Pathway Account. As amended, the bill prohibits access to local levy dollars and does not allow coversion of existing common schools to charter status.


Changes Coming to I-405

Tolls will no longer be collected on nights and weekends – due to emergency rulemaking by the state Transportation Commission. After 120 days, the Commission will decide whether to make the changes permanent. Look for more information on this page, as WSDOT makes changes to express toll lanes and continues project construction along the I-405 corridor.


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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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