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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Sound Transit construction closures continue; East King Chambers support B&O tax reduction; Eastside Business Alliance early endorsements

Posted By Chris Johnson, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sound Transit construction closures continue

Last month, the I-90 center roadway was permanently close to vehicle traffic, in preparation for conversion to light rail operations in 2023.

Motorists utilizing the new HOV lanes on the bridge deck between Mercer Island and Seattle should take note of the following:

I-90 Westbound HOV lane will close between East Mercer Way and Interstate 5 in Seattle. Closures will occur nightly between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., from Wednesday July 12 until Friday July 14.

Check Sound Transit’s East Link project webpage for more details.

East King Chambers support B&O tax reduction

Included in the budget deal agreed to by Governor Inslee on June 30, was a proposed reduction in the B&O tax rate for manufacturing, from the current 0.484 to 0.2904 over four years. However, the Governor bowed to pressure from 24 legislators and agreed to veto these provisions, as contained in a separate revenue bill.

The East King Chambers have long offered strong support for targeted B&O tax reduction for life sciences and technology firms, as well as the aerospace and commercial space sectors. Please see the attached letter from the Coalition, urging Governor Inslee not to veto this proposal.

To learn more about the adopted biennial operating budget, read SSB 5883. For information about the proposed B&O tax reduction for manufacturing, see Part II of 2SSB 5977.

 

Eastside Business Alliance early endorsements

The Eastside Business Alliance recently announced three early candidate endorsements, for the 2017 election cycle. A political action committee which supports business-friendly candidates for local, non-partisan offices, EBA was pleased to renew endorsements for the following longtime friends of business:

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman
  • Bellevue City Councilmember Conrad Lee
  • Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen

Please see the attached news release for additional details. EBA will be back with additional endorsements for business-friendly incumbents and challengers alike, in the coming weeks. 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative   Eastside Business Alliance 

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Bellevue Chamber & Eastside Chambers Advocacy Pays Off: the Business Community Rejoices!

Posted By Lincoln Vander Veen, Monday, June 29, 2015

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and the East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition advocated persistently over the past two plus years for a statewide transportation package anchored by an increase in the gas tax. The Eastside needs investments in I-405, SR-520, and I-90, among many other important projects and maintenance and operations needs. The wait for a badly needed transportation package was frustrating for Bellevue and the Eastside and, fortunately, appears to be over.

A final package has not yet been officially voted on, nor has it been published, but the details are generally well understood. A gas tax increase of fewer than twelve cents phased in over a four year period anchors the package. That increase will help fund vital congestion-relieving, capacity-adding projects like $1.3 billion to upgrade I-405, $1.5 billion to complete the SR-520 overhaul, and a variety of other big ticket items, like congestion relief on I-5, I-90, SR-509, and SR-167. 

Additionally, the transportation package will provide authority for local governments to raise transportation revenue. The most notable authority will be given to Sound Transit, a regional transit authority with taxing authority in Snohomish, King, and Pierce County. The package will give Sound Transit the authority to ask the voters for $15 billion in funding for Sound Transit 3 (ST3), a ballot measure for voters coming in November of 2016. ST3 would build more light rail service and expand regional bus service, a plan Sound Transit considers critical for a fast-growing and densifying Puget Sound populace.

As the precise details of the transportation package are revealed over the coming days, it is important to remember that Eastside chambers pushed legislators toward this goal by sending repeated emails and calls, hosting events, and publicly testifying countless times to the importance of upgrading our transportation infrastructure and providing relief to commuters and freight-haulers. The public investments outlined in this transportation package are long overdue and will help propel our economy forward.

Tags:  East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative  Sound Transit 

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The Senate's Transportation Package

Posted By Lincoln Vander Veen, Saturday, February 14, 2015
Updated: Friday, February 13, 2015

The Senate’s Transportation Package

The Senate’s proposed package is the first comprehensive proposal available for public consumption. The East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition has argued in favor of the passage of a statewide transportation package anchored by a gas tax for more than two years. We are heartened and excited the conversation has been renewed and encourage legislators – especially those representing the Eastside of King County – to continue to negotiate in good faith and make badly needed transportation investments.

The bill is made up of 11 different bills, eight dealing with reforms and three with raising revenue and approving the sale of bonds to finance the transportation projects included. Overall, the package is $15.1 billion and would span 16 years and would raise the gas tax by a total of 11.7 cents.

What projects are included?

View the entire project list here. Projects of importance to the Eastside – and projects included in the Chambers Coalition 2015 transportation document – include, but are not limited to:

·         I-405 Renton to Lynnwood corridor widening

·         SR-520 Seattle corridor improvements (the west end)

·         SR-520/148th Avenue NE Overlake Access Ramp

·         I-90/EB Eastgate to West Lake Sammamish Parkway

·         I-90/WB shoulder hardening between Bellevue and Issaquah

How will gas tax increase be implemented?

Today Washington’s gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon. Under the proposed package, the gas tax would increase to 49.2 cents per gallon by mid-2017, including increases of 5 cents in July, 4.2 cents in July of 2016, and another 2.5 cents in July of 2017.

What about reforms?

The eight reform measures included in the package include labor reforms, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project delivery reforms, sales tax reform, permitting reform, ferry system reforms, and including congestion relief as a stated goal of improving mobility (congestion relief is not presently a stated goal of Washington’s transportation system).

What now?

Legislators – especially bipartisan transportation leaders in the Senate and House – will negotiate on items like total price tag, projects to be funded, and the way those projects should be funded. Again, the Chambers Coalition is excited by the movement on a badly needed transportation investment package that includes a great mix of congestion-relieving highway projects.

Tags:  East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative   transportation package 

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