March 9, 2010 Ms. Marina King Puget Sound Regional Council 1011 Western Ave #500 Seattle, WA 98104 Ms.

King: The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County (EDB) meets with hundreds of Pierce County companies each year and works with them on a variety of business retention and recruitment issues, including transportation. The vitality of the regional transportation system is critical to South Sound businesses who rely on freight mobility as well as local residents who commute to their jobs daily. Additionally, as plans are developed for regional transportation funding resources in the years ahead, clear precedents need to be established regarding funding equity to ensure that transportation dollars generated in our community are used for projects in our community. As Pierce County expects significant growth in the decades ahead, we need to plan strategically to accommodate that growth by growing our local employment centers. A central element of this planning effort is our transportation infrastructure. The following projects are crucial to South Sound businesses moving forward: • State Route 167 extension to the Port of Tacoma This is a critical corridor for much of the South Sound and will significantly improve the timing of goods moving in and out of the Port of Tacoma State Route 704 – Cross Base Highway Frederickson is a major employment center in Pierce County and creation of this new highway will create much needed access to businesses like Boeing, Toray Composites and more. SR-704 will also reduce a great deal of congestion on I-5 near Joint Base Lewis McChord HOV improvements on I-5 and State Route 16 Freight mobility is a high priority for Pierce County businesses and HOV and other improvements on these major highways will be crucial to efforts to remain competitive in the timely delivery of goods Sounder Commuter Rail improvements

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Businesses will increasingly rely on alternative commuting options for employees in the years ahead and to best serve future employee populations there needs to be increased commuter rail service between Seattle and Tacoma, as well as the fulfillment of the extension of Sounder commuter rail to Lakewood and DuPont. • Light Rail extension to Tacoma Dome The Sound Transit light rail network needs to be extended to the Tacoma Dome to provide a rail connection from Tacoma-Pierce County – a major Puget Sound population center – to Sea-Tac International Airport and to King and Snohomish Counties

These are all projects that will need to be completed for Pierce County to keep up with the pace of population growth and the increased demand for jobs in our area in the next three decades. Finally, as the Puget Sound Regional Council continues to deliberate on this document and considers the options for generating transportation revenue dollars through user fees, tolls, gas taxes and other options, it is important to maintain a policy of equitable funding distribution based on the geographic locations where the revenue is generated. Moving forward, projected revenue dollar amounts will change from year to year and specific funding sources may change from year to year. As this occurs, and tough choices are made on the prioritization of projects, it is of utmost importance to follow a balanced plan that ensures dollars generated in one community are not exported to another area of Puget Sound. The EDB is grateful to the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Prosperity Partnership for all of its efforts on behalf of our region and the work we are doing together to plan strategically for the transportation needs of the future. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (253) 383-4726. Sincerely,

Bruce Kendall President and CEO

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