Infrastructure and port competitiveness

Trade is an important part of Washington’s economy. The Port of Tacoma’s “Complete SR 167” blog quotes a recent letter (subscription required) in the magazine American Shipper by Paul Anderson of the Port of Tampa Bay and Jeff Brandes, chairman of the Florida Senate Transportation Committee, about how infrastructure spending helps port competitiveness:

The importance of maintaining and improving infrastructure cannot be overstated. That’s because when cargo movement is delayed, redirected or seriously impeded, critical shipping deadlines are missed, orders get canceled, the cost of goods goes up, companies lose sales, businesses downsize, and America’s international competitiveness sinks …

The letter also says that Florida’s governor and Legislature

have had the vision to make unprecedented investments in transportation infrastructure during the past four years, underscoring the nexus between such investments and Florida’s growing international trade.

Here in Washington, transportation packages have failed to be enacted the last two years. Additionally, the expanded SEPA review process being used for certain export projects (and potentially other projects as well) could impact international trade and interstate commerce, hurting our state’s competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sen. Wyden (D-Oregon) is

working to set up a new bipartisan coalition that soon can move a free-trade agenda in the Senate by refocusing the debate to emphasize middle-class job creation. . . .

On other fronts, Mr. Wyden said he hopes to announce in coming days new ideas for short-term moves to shore up the ailing federal highway fund. Longer term, he’s aiming to find new ways to attract private-sector investment to the nation’s transportation system, he said.