Planes that go everywhere, but highways that go nowhere.
Speaking at food manufacturer Oberto's in Kent, Gov. Jay Inslee encouraged lawmakers to continue their negotiations on a statewide transportation package that would benefit the entire state of Washington.
"Investing in our infrastructure is the highway to economic development," he said.
The governor repeatedly mentioned the importance of compromise and setting aside ideologies and come to middle ground, a point that Port of Tacoma Commissioner Dick Marzano emphasized at the event. "The commissions of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma will vote next week on forming The Northwest Seaport Alliance," he said. "If we can do that, I would think the Legislature could get together on a transportation package."
The importance of infrastructure in serving the trade economy was another key point made by the governor. "(SR) 509 and 167 are not only important to the South Sound, but the entire state of Washington. We need to get Yakima apples to the Port of Tacoma."
The governor also mentioned that when he was in China last year, noting how much the Chinese liked Tacoma-produced Almond Roca, "We need to get Almond Roca to China or they will be in collapse," he said laughing.
Transportation also plays a role for the state's biggest manufacturer, Boeing. He pointed out the importance of road and rail connections in moving components to Boeing's assembly plants. "We have planes that go everywhere, but highways that go nowhere."
Today's event follows on the heels of a visit to the Puyallup River Bridge yesterday. As covered by the News Tribune, the governor and other state and local officials also used Wednesday’s tour to highlight the need for extending SR 167 through to the Port of Tacoma.
“The Washington economy struggles when there are roads to nowhere and people stuck in congestion,” said Puyallup City Manager Kevin Yamamoto. “We need that done, and we need that done this go-around.”