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City has Successful State Legislative Session

May 26, 2009

For more information contact:

Suzanne Dale Estey, Economic Development/Government Relations Director, 425-430-6591
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-430-6569, cell 206-491-8158

Significant progress made on top priorities

RENTON:  The City of Renton fared well this state legislative session, despite severe state budget challenges.  Significant progress was made on all five of the city’s top priorities in its 2009 state legislative agenda adopted by the City Council prior to the legislative session.

“We have an incredibly strong state legislative delegation representing Renton, and we are very grateful that despite the tough budget realities they faced, our legislators were able to successfully advocate for Renton’s priorities,” said Mayor Denis Law. “We also appreciated the collaborative and strategic efforts of Renton’s major community stakeholders, who worked with us to represent a unified force for our community.”

State legislative districts that include parts of Renton are the 5th, 11th, 37th, 41st, and 47th, and legislators from each of those districts were helpful to the city in various ways.

Transportation Solutions:  The City of Renton continued to advocate for transportation solutions throughout the session, and successfully protected funding for I-405 improvements and freight mobility projects along Strander Boulevard/SW 27th Street.  The city also worked with the legislature and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to support language in the state transportation budget to require WSDOT to analyze alternative financing to address the critically needed improvements to the I-405 corridor from Renton to Bellevue.  House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (41st District-Mercer Island/Renton) and Senator Fred Jarrett (41st District-Mercer Island/Renton) were particularly helpful.    Renton also received $2 million for the Rainier Avenue improvements project from the federal economic stimulus allocation approved by the state.

Annexation/Growth Management:  On May 19, Mayor Law joined Governor Gregoire at the signing ceremony for Senate Bill 5321, which adds a third one-tenth of one cent annexation sales tax credit authority for Renton and extends the previously established annexation assistance program to 2015.

Senate Ways & Means Chair Margarita Prentice (11th District - Renton) and House Finance Chair Ross Hunter (48th District - Bellevue) were instrumental in the passage of this bill, among other legislative supporters.  Supporters of this legislation included a broad coalition of public safety and public employee unions, builders, environmental and growth management advocates, and cities and counties from throughout the Puget Sound region.

Additionally, as part of its exploration as to whether it may be more beneficial for city residents to be part of the regional King County Library System rather than address the rapidly growing costs of maintaining municipal library service, the City of Renton successfully supported House Bill 1291, which eliminated an exclusion of cities over 100,000 in population from annexing in to library districts. This bill was sponsored by Representative Marcie Maxwell (41st District-Mercer Island/Renton) and was signed into law by Governor Gregoire on April 9.

Economic Development and Infrastructure Funding:  Funding for core infrastructure needs and investments that lay the groundwork for economic development continued to be a high priority for the City of Renton this session.  Renton worked in concert with the Association of Washington Cities and a coalition of others to help address community needs and enhance its business retention and recruitment efforts.  Thanks in large part to the leadership and advocacy of Senator Margarita Prentice and Representative Marcie Maxwell, the city successfully secured $1.7 million in capital budget funding for economic development-related infrastructure improvements and a trail connection at the mixed-use project at Exit 7/Hawks Landing.  This funding will help serve as a catalyst for future high-wage job creation and potential office development in this area.

Small Business Assistance:  Renton and its community partners at the Renton Chamber of Commerce and Renton Technical College successfully secured $50,000 in operating budget funding to help the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Renton continue to survive and address critical business development needs.  Additionally, a bill to establish long-term state funding for the SBDC was passed, and Renton looks forward to working with the legislature to secure this funding next session.

Strengthening the Aerospace Industry: Renton strongly supported the efforts of the Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Washington Aerospace Partnership to strengthen the aerospace industry across Washington.  Governor Gregoire signed an executive order on May 14 in Renton that creates the Washington Aerospace Council, and lays the groundwork for future policy changes to ensure that Washington State remains competitive in the global aerospace industry.