The Pierce County Chamber of Commerce has released a special edition of its Voice for Business publication focusing on the contested race for Port of Tacoma Commission Position 1.
With the Port's status as a significant economic driver for the county, the Chamber is not currently endorsing a specific candidate. Rather, according to an introduction by Chamber President and CEO Tom Pierson, the organization has released a voters guide for business, comprised of the candidates' responses (or lack thereof) to a questionnaire. Below is a short preview of the guide, in the form of a question the Chamber asked and the candidates' replies. The full guide, which is made up of 12 questions (including the one printed below), can be found here.
What are your top three economic development objectives for the Port?
Connie Bacon (Incumbent)
Creating new jobs; 2) Building 167; 3) Solving rail regulatory and investment issues with the federal government and the private railroad companies.
A new rail yard on the Tacoma Mountain Rail line will allow better movement of trains out of the limited rail storage system on the Port. From the new rail yard, trains can move easily to the mainline.
The export of coal will bring in 1000 new jobs into Pierce County. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports points out that coal trains have been running through the Tacoma–Seattle region for decades. Not a single record of any coal dust complaints as of 2012 has been report to a Clean Air Agency. I will support bringing coal exporting to Pierce County with the proper mitigation employed.
Widening the Blair Waterway – With the new Panamax Ships the waterway will need to be widened to maintain efficiencies and safety of the larger ships during poor weather conditions.
I propose a back to basics approach to careful budgeting to avoid the mistakes of the past. Unrealistic ventures have burdened the port with a large amount of debt. We need to stop making short term “quarterly profit” like decisions and enter into longer term strategic contracts that ensure the economic welfare of future generations of maritime employees.
We need modern facilities and equipment that will make the Port of Tacoma an appealing place for steamship lines and shippers to use because of the cost effective manner in which cargo is moved. Every possibility to use technology to our advantage must be made. These new high paying technical jobs should remain ILWU/Union positions.
A strategic alliance with the Port of Seattle that makes the best use of Puget Sound maritime facilities and personnel must be achieved if we expect to compete as a region against other parts of the world who are modernizing and working together already while we cut our profits to win business and only put the profits into the shipping lines pockets. I have made a recent trip to Canadian ports and we are drastically falling behind in our ability to compete.
Andre (Doctor Dre) Young