Lawmakers to Scrutinize
A comprehensive look at Washington's ports as an engine for economic development is the subject of a legislative study committee when it meets in Tacoma on Friday.
The Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations, chaired by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, will hear about operations, challenges and opportunities encountered by the state's 75 port districts when it meets at 9 a.m. Friday at the Port of Tacoma's Fabulich Center at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road.
"As one of the most trade-dependent states in the United States, Washington has a huge stake in international trade. Thousands of jobs are tied to it across many sectors, and much our economic success depends on the successful operation of our ports. It is important to recognize the outstanding job ports do throughout our state, from rural eastern Washington to the coast," Owen said.
Eric Johnson, executive director of the Washington Public Ports Association, said the committee will be presented with a sophisticated overview of port systems across Washington and their role in an increasingly competitive global economy. Washington ports include sea, air and rail.
"There are key gateways opening up for cargo that we have to be aware of," said Johnson, who is one of nine presenters to the committee. "Canadians are making investments to the north. Panama is widening the canal to the south."
In light of the expanding global competition, Johnson said: "We have a vibrant port system in our state, but we want to strengthen this important part of our state's economy in order to develop and sustain jobs. And we would like the committee to learn about the needs of our ports and respond, if possible."
Strategic investments in transportation to help ensure the quick movement of freight might include improvements to road and rail networks within the state, Johnson said.
In addition to Johnson, presenters include:
The meeting will be broadcast on the state's public affairs network, TVW, starting Monday, July 12, at 7 p.m., then air again several times throughout that week. It will be available prior to that via streaming media on the station's Web site at www.tvw.org.
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