The Washington State Legislature completed its work over the weekend, wrapping up a 105-day session. We are grateful that a number of our priorities were addressed by lawmakers.
Environmental leadership and transportation advocacy are two of the five areas of foundational goals outlined in the Port’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan that was recently finalized.
Port of Tacoma priorities
Remedial action grants
The final 2021-23 capital budget includes $3.15 million for two Port of Tacoma remediation projects. This money will allow us to complete our cleanup of the Alexander Avenue Tank Farm and begin work on cleaning up the Arkema site. Special thanks to Sens. David Frockt and Jim Honeyford and Reps. Steve Tharinger and Mike Steele for their work on the budget.
State Route 167 completion
Despite pressures on the state transportation budget that are forcing lawmakers to make difficult decisions, the Pierce County delegation held firm and protecting funding for the SR 167 completion project, ensuring it remains on schedule. Special thanks to House Transportation Chair Rep. Jake Fey for his leadership.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance priorities supported by the Port of Tacoma
The Northwest Seaport Alliance is a marine cargo operating partnership between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.
Climate & sustainability
State lawmakers passed two transformative bills related to climate change. HB 1091 (establishing a low-carbon fuel standard) and SB 5126 (the Climate Commitment Act) will provide important policy tools that can help the Port of Tacoma meet our Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy commitments. SB 5126 will also serve as an important component of a new transportation package funding projects like the Port of Tacoma Road Interchange and the West Seattle Bridge.
Quiet Sound funding
State lawmakers agreed to provide $250,000 in matching funds to the Quiet Sound Program, an initiative spearheaded by the ports of Tacoma, Seattle and The Northwest Seaport Alliance. Modeled after the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Echo Program, the program notifies vessel operators to slow their ships in the presence of Southern Resident Orcas. This reduces ship noise, improving the whales’ ability to detect salmon, a critical food source.
Streamlined Sales Tax Mitigation payments to Fife and Sumner
The Port of Tacoma’s ability to successfully compete for marine cargo depends on a healthy supply chain. This includes communities like Sumner and Fife being willing to host warehouse and distribution center complexes, which handle products grown, manufactured, and consumed throughout the entire state.
The NWSA supported passage of HB 1521, a bill that provides mitigation payments for cities that accommodate these types of facilities and are negatively impacted by the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. This mechanism will incentivize communities to continue to host warehousing and distribution centers upon which the state economy relies on.