Sheldon applauds Boeing incentives, warns transportation plan not yet ready

Sen. Tim Sheldon is back at the Capitol for what he expects to be a quick “special” legislative session – and enthusiastic about the prospect of voting on legislation that would give Boeing more incentive to produce its new 777X aircraft in Washington.

“This is great news for everyone in Washington,” said Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “Landing the 777X production in our state, where it belongs, will create thousands of family-wage jobs not just at Boeing but also at numerous sub-contractors and smaller businesses.”

Sheldon believes the 777X incentive plan that could come before the full Senate on Saturday will have strong bipartisan support. The incentives for Boeing will only be realized if the planes are built in Washington and delivered to customers.

“I’m sure we’ll come together and help create the 56,000 jobs that are projected to come along with the 777X,” said Sheldon. “It’s a no-brainer. I think we can get this done by tomorrow.”

Sheldon, however, doubts that Gov. Jay Inslee’s insistence on passing an additional transportation package, on top of the new transportation budget adopted in April, will bear fruit during this short special session.

“I want a transportation package every bit as much as the governor does,” said Sheldon. “My district, which is in large part rural, has some major needs such as finishing the State Route 3 bypass in Belfair and maintaining our highways. Unfortunately, I think the governor is trying to piggyback the transportation package on the Boeing issue. This is a big overreach on his part. A package the voters would support is simply not ready at this time.”

Sheldon says the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, of which he is a member, is gearing up to launch a transportation package during the 2014 regular legislative session. It would include reforms affecting the Department of Transportation, to make the system used to build and maintain roads more cost-effective.

“Our caucus traveled to 10 cities around the state this fall, getting input from the public on its transportation concerns and needs,” said Sheldon. “The plan we propose will be better because of that feedback; I’m not interested in something that is rushed through a special session without proper care and public input.”