Recap Video: Cantwell Visits to 3 Ports Highlight WA Jobs Impacted by Freight Bill

During visits to Ports of Seattle, Vancouver and Pasco, Cantwell calls for Senate action to make freight jobs national priority ***VIDEO AVAILABLE***

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) visited three ports across the state of Washington last week to highlight the importance of investing in the state’s freight network to support job growth and keep Washington’s ports competitive.

At the Port of Pasco, Cantwell told the Tri-City Herald that “freight means jobs.” Cantwell toured work sites at the Port of Pasco, the Port of Vancouver, and the Port of Seattle and discussed measures to continue the growth of freight with business owners and port authorities. Tony Flagg, Vice President of Business Development for United Grain Corporation, told The Columbian that because of the port’s critical investments in a freight rail project and the deepening of the Columbia River channel his business in Vancouver, “is going through a tremendous period of growth.” In Seattle KIRO 7 reported that Cantwell was pushing for, “clearing of freight bottlenecks to boost business.”

CLICK HERE to watch a video from Senator Cantwell’s tour of Washington state ports.

Washingtonstate is one of the nation’s top exporting states. In 2010, more than 533 million tons of freight were moved in Washington – a number expected to grow by up to 86 percent by 2040.“But the growth to the state’s economy and the increase in jobs will only happen if infrastructure improvements are made today,” Cantwell was quoted saying on January 10, 2012 in a Tri-City Herald article.

During visits to the ports Cantwell urged Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to take up key provisions of the Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act before March 31, 2012, when the current surface transportation reauthorization expires. If enacted by Congress, the provisions would create a freight infrastructure competitive grant to invest in the most economically beneficial freight mobility projects and establish the nation’s first national freight transportation policy to identify freight bottlenecks and reduce delays and increase the system’s reliability.


Here are highlights of Senator Cantwell’s tour:


Port of Pasco


  • “Washington has the potential to be the doorway to the Asian markets. But Sen. Maria Cantwell said the state could miss out if investment isn’t made in infrastructure projects to move freight more efficiently.” Tri-City Herald, January 10, 2012.


  • “‘Freight means jobs,’ Cantwell said. About 44 percent of the state's jobs are tied to freight-dependent industries like agriculture and manufacturing, she said.” Tri-City Herald, January 10, 2012.


  • “Lampson International uses rail, barge, truck and sometimes air to transport parts it manufactures, said company president Bill Lampson. Having cost efficient and the best modes of transportation available are important to his business.” Tri-City Herald, January 10, 2012.


  • Cantwell told KAPP:“There’s a lot of product to be shipped out of the Tri-Cities and the Port of Pasco is doing a great job by building a modern hub system to try to easily get the product from manufacturers on to these cars and out to their markets both here nationally and internationally. So we want those kinds of projects to be funded.” KAPP, January 9, 2012.


Port of Vancouver


  • “Moving freight across the country is what keeps business moving. But with an aging infrastructure the country has some catching up to do. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has a plan to change that.” KGW, January 11, 2012.


  • Cantwell told KGW: “To move products to Asia and to serve growing middle-classes around the globe is a great opportunity, if you have the infrastructure in place and can be competitive.”


  • “[Vice President of Business Development for United Grain Corporation, Tony] Flagg said the port’s freight rail project and the deepening of the Columbia River channel represent critical investments in infrastructure that are enabling his export operations to meet growing demand from Asia. ‘We’re going through a tremendous period of growth,’ Flagg said of his company’s $80 million project to expand its grain-handling operations and provide more storage for corn and soybeans.” The Columbian, January 11, 2012.


  • “Cantwell said the Port of Vancouver’s public works investments, which have created jobs and accelerated the movement of cargo, are examples of why it’s crucial for the nation to bolster its freight network.” The Columbian, January 11, 2012.


Port of Seattle


  • Cantwell told KOMO 4:“The competition is on. The President has said that he wants an export policy. We know in the Northwest that the Pacific Rim is a great economic opportunity not just for us but for our country.” KOMO 4, January 12, 2012.


  • Cantwell told KIRO 7:“We can create jobs here, grow more business and have people reach more customers by having a good network of rail and road and shipping.” KIRO 7, January 12, 2012.


  • Cantwell told KCPQ:“If Washington state and America wants to keep its edge in a global economy we need a 21st century transportation and shipping system to help us stay competitive.” KCPQ, January 12, 2012     


  • “Clearing freight bottlenecks to boost business. Senator Maria Cantwell is leading the charge tonight to help local port stay competitive and keep thousands of jobs here. It’s a big deal because Washington has one of the country’s most trade-dependent economies.” KIRO 7, January 12, 2012.


  • “It’s wordy, but important to the region. FREIGHT could land federal investment in such projects as adding 19 lane miles to I-5 from SeaTac to Federal Way and a direct link into the Green River Valley, the West Coast’s second largest warehouse distribution hub. The legislation comes as Canada is expanding its ports at Prince Rupert and Vancouver. ‘They are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand their infrastructure and capacity,’ said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani. Or as Cantwell put it, ‘The competition’s on.’” Joel Connelly, seattlepi.com, January 16, 2012.


  • “‘Cargo is like water:  It will take the path of least resistance,’ said Seattle Port Commission President Gael Tarleton. An estimated 27,000 state jobs and $3.3 billion in economic output for freight dependent industries could be lost in Washington if truck congestion within the state increases by 20 percent, according to a soon-to-be-released state Department of Transportation study.” Joel Connelly, seattlepi.com, January 16, 2012.