Posts filed under ‘Economic Vitality’
Each year the Washington State Transportation Commission visits four or five communities around the state to learn about local transportation needs, challenges and successes. A visit to Port Townsend and Jefferson County this week kicks off the 2013 community meetings. The Commission will tour various transportation sites on Tuesday afternoon and meet all day in Port Townsend on Wednesday, May 22, at the Port of Port Townsend. In addition to hearing from the cities of Port Townsend, Port Angeles, and Sequim and Jefferson and Clallam Counties, the agenda also includes WSDOT, the local ports and transit agencies and tribes. Presentations will zero in on the importance of transportation to the area’s tourism economy and the unique demands on transit created by the state’s highest percentage of elderly population.
The Commission travels to Walla Walla in June, to Colville and Spokane in September, and to Bothell in November. During other months, with the exception of August, the Commission meets in Olympia.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Vic Toews signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) paving the way for a truck cargo pre-inspection pilot project on Canadian soil. The MOU is a commitment made as part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan.
“Our Government aims to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods and services at the Canada-U.S. border, as envisioned in the Beyond the Border Action Plan,” said Minister Toews. “The pilot announced today will test the concept of conducting primary inspection of U.S.-bound truck cargo in Canada in order to better manage our shared border and improve economic opportunities for Canadian manufacturers and their U.S.-based supply chain partners.”
“Our countries have made significant progress in implementing the initiatives of the Beyond the Border Action Plan,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The implementation of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot will aim to further enhance the economic and national security of both of our nations.”
The truck cargo pre-inspection pilot will be carried out in two phases:
•Phase I will test the concept of conducting U.S. primary cargo inspection in Canada, and will be implemented at the Pacific Highway crossing between Surrey, British Columbia and Blaine, Washington.
•Phase II will further test how pre-inspection could enhance border efficiency and reduce wait times to facilitate legitimate trade and travel, and will be implemented at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York.
The two largest ports on Puget Sound have recently completed long-term strategic plans. With increasing industrial capacity in Asian factories, West Coast ports have the opportunity for major growth.
The Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda sets out strategic goals for the next 25 years, aiming to grow seaport container volume, triple air cargo volume and add 100,000 port-related jobs.
The Port of Tacoma has adopted a ten year strategic plan to revitalize the port’s purpose and strategy for the next 10 years (2012 – 2022). Their strategic plan responds to economic recession, shifting markets, structural changes in the industry, and competition. It sets 10 targets for the coming 10 years, including doubling container volumes and dry bulk volumes and increasing net income by 50%.
Each year the Transportation Commission visits four or more cities around the state to learn about local transportation needs, challenges, and successes. On April 17 and 18 the Commission visited Mt. Vernon, LaConner and other Skagit County locations. Water defines geography in and around Skagit County.
Pictured here is Mt. Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau showing off the new Mt. Vernon River Walk, which adds a functioning transportation corridor, enhances livability and provides a tourism attraction, while also serving as a dike to protect downtown from Skagit River floods.
In the other picture, you see the Swinomish Channel in La Conner. This waterway is heavily used by industrial, commercial and recreational boaters and must be dredged regularly. Taking a cue from Mt. Vernon, La Conner also is enhancing its waterway along the Swinomish Channel with a boardwalk.
In June, the Commission will visit East Wenatchee and the surrounding vicinity in Douglas County and Chelan County.
Please tell us about the transportation challenges and successes in your community.
The West Coast Green Highway opens on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The three-state initiative provides public electric vehicle charging stations in strategic locations to promote the use of cleaner fuels along the 1,350 miles of I-5 from British Columbia to Baja, California in Mexico.
At the Grand Opening on Wednesday, May 30, the charging stations in Blaine, Bellingham and Burlington will not be available for general charging as they will be used for charging demonstrations. The network of stations will be open for all EV drivers on Thursday, May 31.
For more information on the Grand Opening, click
Drivers can sign-up for an AVnetwork Charging keyfob and find the most current listing of charging stations at evsolutions.avinc.com. The website will be updated as new stations come online — so check back regularly.
Spokane International Airport has completed a major upgrade that lengthens the runway and improves sightlines for pilots. By extending the main runway to 11,000 feet, Spokane has the opportunity to attract additional air cargo operations. the longer runway also will allow airlines to schedule longer flights from Spokane.
Air travel is an important part of the state’s transportation system, helping to connect Washington with the rest of the nation and the world.
WSDOT told an impressive story at this week’s meeting of the Transportation Commission about how our state has already invested over $500 million of federal assistance from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in transportation improvements. From repaving 820 lane miles of state highways, to new transit facilities and buses, to mobility improvements that include congestion relief on I-405 near Bothell and extending the I-5 high occupancy vehicle lanes into Pierce County, our state’s planning and readiness has paid huge dividends. And, an additional $751 million to improve freight and passenger rail is committed to projects that will be completed over the next six years.
We recommend this excellent report on Washington’s progress in putting American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars to work.
The transportation system plays an important role in fostering economic vitality and competitiveness in local and global markets. Washington’s key industries are a source of innovation, entrepreneurship and job growth. These industries have infrastructure and workforce needs that tie directly to an efficient and connected transportation system. For employers, access to labor and the ability to move goods are often important location decisions. Transit and access to airports may factor into this decision as well. For employees, commute times, costs and options are all factors in the decision-making process.
As a trade-dependent state, Washington relies heavily on an efficient freight transportation network to maintain its competitive position. As a global gateway, goods are shipped into, out of, and around the state by truck, rail, air, pipeline, and water. Manufacturers and agricultural producers require an effectively networked system to get their goods to market locally, across the country, and around the world. A well connected transportation system can also help the state’s economy prosper and grow, by providing access to new markets as they develop.
WTP 2030 includes economic vitality strategies organized in four broad categories:
- Enhance Washington’s Economic Competitiveness and Vitality
- Foster Improved Connectivity of People and Communities
- Support the Coordinated, Connected and Efficient Movement of Freight and Goods
- Invest in Aviation, a Critical Component of Washington’s Economy
Economic Vitality was added as the sixth transportation policy goal in 2010. What does economic vitality mean to you and your community? What would you like to see in this plan to reflect the importance of this goal?
In addition to leaving comments on this blog, we encourage you to use the online public input tool to tell us about the transportation issues and priorities that are important to you.
You can read the plan and related documents at:
WTP 2030 is a transitional plan, crafted at the beginning of a new era. The next four years are likely to see broad changes and policy transitions. Federal transportation policy is evolving, as are environmental and economic policies that will influence the direction of transportation and funding investments. This Plan will set the stage for many conversations and decisions still to come in future years.
Four strategic drivers inform this Plan: these are key influences that reflect the current political, policy and economic environment within which this Plan was developed:
- Transportation Policy should Support and Reinforce Other State Policy Objectives. A strategic transportation policy plan must embrace goals, principles, and policies that support broad policy outcomes for the state, beyond the transportation system. Fostering economic development, supporting healthy communities, reducing energy consumption, and addressing climate change are all broad policy outcomes influencing WTP 2030.
- The Relationship between Land Use and Transportation is Key. The transportation system is a direct reflection of the way in which land is developed and used. The movement of people and goods changes in relation to residential, commercial, industrial, and other land uses; the land use provides the reason for movement and the why for travel. The availability of transportation often influences development and land use plans. WTP 2030 acknowledges this critical relationship and recommends strengthening linkages between desired outcomes in both land use development and the transportation system.
Transportation is at the beginning of a new era that brings both great challenges and opportunities that will have an impact on how people travel and how goods move over the next twenty years. Although we have invested a lot in transportation projects over the years, we know that much more investment is needed.WTP 2030 is intended to be a practical Policy Plan – one that directly addresses the challenges and opportunities facing the state’s policy makers and provides them with solutions and a path forward.
WTP 2030 is grounded in the following three Foundational Themes - the big ideas that matter most.
Theme #1: The State’s Transportation System Needs to Work as an Integrated Network, Effectively Connecting Across Modes and Jurisdictions
A fundamental goal of the statewide transportation system over the next 20 years must be to work towards achieving system connectivity and integration. The system includes modes (aviation, rail, roads, trails, waterways), facilities (airports, ferry terminals, bus shelters, rest areas, information technology systems, weigh stations, etc.) and services (aviation fuel, charters, emergency response, traffic alerts, traffic cameras) that are owned, operated or managed by transportation providers in both the private and public sector. As part of this objective, we must focus on moving people and goods in the most efficient and cost effective manner, with system connectivity serving as a critical factor in investment decision-making.