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Legislative Agenda
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Shared Business Priorities  
for the 2014 Washington State Legislative Session

As we move into 2014, Southwest Washington continues its slow economic recovery. The partnership and support of Olympia is more important than ever to keep momentum towards full employment and a robust economy on the upward track.

As Olympia continues to wrestle with the budgetary challenges it faces on a statewide level, the legislature needs to minimize economic harm to municipalities, schools, and our other local economic entities. When cuts are made to localities, don’t leave them with unfunded mandates, and do not dictate how or when they occur. Let our county, cities, schools and other impacted agencies make the decisions on how and when to implement them.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Southwest Washington’s economic future is tied to strong investment in infrastructure projects.  The quality of our infrastructure sets the stage for new development and the attraction of new businesses and industries to Southwest Washington.  Without continued investment in infrastructure, our communities will grind to a halt.  Pass a new multi-modal transportation revenue package that includes funding to meet SW Washington’s critical infrastructure needs.

  • Restore funding to the Public Works Trust Fund and honor funding commitments already made to local communities for transportation/infrastructure, education and other public sector projects
  • Expand direct distribution funding for the Preservation and Maintenance of city and county roads and streets.
  • Complete the Nickel and Partnership projects for Southwest Washington.
  • Fund more at grade and separated grade crossings to deal with projected increased rail traffic.
  • Fund the Regional Transportation Council’s regionally validated local and state system projects, beginning with:
    • Vancouver Interstate 5/Mill Plain and 4th Plain Interchanges
    • Vancouver SR-14 I-205 to 164th Avenue Widening
    • Vancouver SR-500 Intersections at 42nd Avenue and 54th Avenue
    • Camas Washougal SR-14 Widening/West Slough Project and Phase 2 Widening from SE 6th to 32nd St.
    • Clark County NE 10th Avenue from 149th to 164th St./Whipple Creek project
    • Clark County Interstate 5/179th Street Interchange
    • Battle Ground SR-502/SR-503 Right Turn Lanes
    • Ridgefield Pioneer Street Rail Overpass
  • Fund the West Vancouver Freight Access project that will create jobs.
  • Fund the balance of the strategic north county sewer projects in the Discovery Corridor and at the Ridgefield Junction to bring jobs producing lands to market now.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Clark County’s unemployment rate still remains about 35% higher than the state average.  Southwest Washington’s ability to compete requires addition of economic development tools

  • Support ESHB 1978 to promote accelerated project permitting and regulatory streamlining to move projects faster and stretch transportation funding.
  • Require state agencies to work with local governments and port authorities to pre-permit key sites.
  • Initial funding for leveraging private investment in economic development
  • Provide local communities greater local flexibility and tools to generate revenue to invest in infrastructure and development

EDUCATION

Southwest Washington requires a well educated and trained workforce which must be developed first in our education system in partnership with our business community.

  • Ensure full and timely funding for basic education as required by the Washington State Supreme Court in its McCleary decision.
  • Provide School Districts greater flexibility to determine how state funds are used to implement new programs now mandated by State Legislature.
  • Allow School districts time/resources to fully implement new mandated programs before approving additional reform efforts
  • Increase state funding to maintain affordability and access for WSU and Clark students.  Fund over-enrolled FTE students at Clark College and WSU Vancouver.
  • Support enhancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in middle schools and high schools, as well as student internships and youth employment opportunities.

The business community of Clark County has provided a united voice and southwest Washington Legislators have been receptive and supportive. Southwest Washington has enjoyed successes because of the teamwork this region demonstratesin both the public and private sectors.

We thank you for your continued support.

 
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