Cantwell Legislation to Complete Port of Tacoma Expansion Agreement Passes Senate

Legislation Key in Deal that Creates 10,000 New Pierce County Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday evening, the U.S. Senate approved Senator Maria Cantwell’s legislation that fills a key component of a major cooperative economic agreement between the Port of Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe, resulting in nearly 10,000 new jobs for Pierce County.

“South Puget Sound is already seeing the benefits of this innovative partnership creating thousands of new, family wage jobs,” Cantwell said. “This is a win-win-win situation for the Port, Pierce communities, and the Puyallup Tribe.”

Cantwell’s legislation will put tribal-owned land within the Puyallup Indian Reservation into trust status. This Congressional action fulfills a critical component of the joint economic development agreement reached between the Puyallup Tribe, the State of Washington, the Port of Tacoma, Pierce County, the Cities of Fife, Puyallup, and Tacoma, and will allow them to finalize the plan.

Signed on February 9, 2004, this innovative partnership enabled more than $450 million in new investments and created an estimated 4,000 construction jobs and nearly 6,000 permanent jobs in Pierce County.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Tribe and the Port worked together to relocate the Tribes’s Emerald Queen Casino to allow for construction of the new container terminal and mitigate for closure of an access road to the casino. In addition, the agreement, which continues in the footsteps of the Puyallup Indian Land Claims Settlement of 1988, commits the Port to helping the Tribe build their own container terminal, invest $5 million towards a salmon restoration mitigation project, and work collaboratively to dredge and widen the Blair Waterway.

The legislation is now headed to the House of Representatives for final approval.