EASC is happy to report that our mission to D.C. last week was a huge success. The delegation consisted of a great mix of both private and public businesses and organizations including the City of Lynnwood, Aviation Technical Services, Granite Construction, and Community Transit. Workforce Snohomish and University of Washington Bothell were in D.C.as well during our trip and joined us for a few key meetings.
The delegation met with several key members of Congress in Washington State and advocated for several key priorities while back in D.C. During our time on the Hill, we met with Senators Murray and Cantwell, and Congress members DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, and several staffers from Washington offices.
A key issue for our group while we were in D.C. was to advocate for funding of the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The CIG provides federal matching funds for communities and regions that are taking the initiative and committing hefty sums of their own local dollars to build or expand transit systems such as the Lynnwood Link Extension. Under the Lynnwood Link Extension, the Federal match is in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion. Under a proposal from the House, there is no new money for the CIG which could be detrimental to our region. These programs provide federal matching funds for communities and regions that are taking the initiative and committing hefty sums of their own local dollars to build or expand transit systems. If the federal match is not allocated under a FY18 budget, the completion of light rail to Lynnwood is uncertain.
We were happy to hear that our Washington Congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle support our efforts to get the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank up and running at full strength. The EXIM Bank is the U.S. government agency that helps our businesses export their goods and services by providing export credit insurance and loans. 64% of the 184 Washington companies using the bank since 2012 were small businesses and exports in FY 2014-2016 exceeded $31 billion facilitated by the EXIM Bank. Until EXIM has a quorum, the bank cannot make larger loans. If this is not changed, the EXIM will no longer remain self-sustaining and earn money to pay down the deficit, and instead will be a cost to taxpayers.
In addition to those issues our delegation advocated for improved trade agreements that ensure Washington State remains competitive since the Trump Administration abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the importance of replacing the US2 Westbound Trestle, and discuss the needs of employers in Washington State. EASC is already planning for our next trip in 2018. Look for more details early next year.