Issaquah Chamber of Commerce Legislative Agenda
Top-Priority and Key Priority Issues for 2017
Chamber’s mission: to advance and promote business by providing a forum to address issues and to unite and support our membership and community through programs, events and services.
The Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce Board endorses and strongly advocates for the following pro-business actions in support of the overall economic vitality of Issaquah. Successful implementation of these opportunities enables a strong, thriving business climate that helps make our community whole and provides for the needed jobs, services, and support citizens require.
The Chamber values its relationship with the City and desires to work with the City to ensure Issaquah is a thriving and vibrant community. The Chamber askes that it be given the opportunity to provide input and comment on city actions, processes, and legislation with sufficient time to provide meaningful input so that the City can be informed regarding how its actions impact the business community.
As a collaborative effort, we must consistently work to support the local economy, local job base and local tax revenue that preserves Issaquah’s quality of life. Business matters because it supports everything we hold dear in our community, and with the City we must put forth our collective efforts to encourage and sustain the generators of jobs, innovation, and economic vitality in our community. We urge the City staff and Council to take the following actions:
Moratorium:Be expedient in the resolution of the issues noted in Ordinance No. 2778 adopted on September 6th. The moratorium is a time sensitive issue that can have long lasting, unintended consequences on Issaquah’s economy.
More Reliable/Redundant Infrastructure and Investment in Infrastructure Overall:
Support and ensure engagement with Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside project to replace aging infrastructure (18 miles of 50-year-old transmission lines) with higher capacity lines and to provide the redundancy required by Federal mandate for our region. Hospitals, hotels, grocery stores, service providers and in general, core business areas should not[WN4] be left without redundant power. Issaquah needs a power grid that supports the needs of a high tech, web-based economy and as expected by our citizens.
Preserve Issaquah’s aquifer as its main water source. Not only a treasure for Issaquah, providing our own water reduces dependency and costs associated with purchasing water.
Provide better fiber access for Issaquah – Issaquah needs fiber connectivity/accessibility if it is to recruit and retain business, in particular headquarters that provide technology-centric and knowledge wage jobs.
Ensure a tourism program that drives events/activities/information to a multitude of visitors from individual tourists to conferences and athletic competitions.
Support measures before Washington State Legislators that create an industry-led Tourism Marketing Authority and provide performance-based industry funding mechanisms without additional taxes. Investments that drive state tourism, provided that the return in tax dollars to the State more than covers the initial investment, are key.
Support the pro-business efforts of Washington State FilmWorks with the understanding that investment in film is an investment in our economy and that the film industry typically has a high return on investment.
As the number one cited issue (traffic/local circulation) in the City’s business retention survey, the Chamber asks that the City place a high priority and focus on improvements that keep traffic flowing; constricting traffic negatively impacts business with reduced access and presents a challenge for its workforce/recruitment efforts. We urge the City staff and Council to take the following actions:
Ensure businesses voice is heard and incorporated in the study and design of WSDoT’s Interstate Justification Report (IJR) on Front Street/Gilman and the 10/12th street overcrossing.
Engage the Chamber early on in the study and re-design efforts for Gilman Boulevard. Any refinements should complement findings and recommendations of the IJR as noted above.
Support WSDoT’s I-90 shoulder lane hardening/enhancement (West and East bound) project’s construction planned for 2020 as part of the Connecting Washington transportation package.
Start planning now for Sound Transit 3’s Issaquah light rail location by:
Focusing on projects that aid in connecting the north and south sides of our community and that facilitate inter-City mobility first.
Advocating for centrally locating one-to-two rail stops on the valley floor in the I-90 corridor where the greatest density (urban core) will occur over time. Citing a rail stop should be about people first and as a value-add amenity that complements Issaquah (not that detracts from its character).
Advocating for the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to investment in infrastructure (parking structure(s)) and effective bus service for commuters (Metro and Sound Transit) at key locations/jurisdictions currently outside of the RTA zone (Renton, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Maple Valley, etc.) to ensure that those areas that feed traffic through Issaquah are served.
Continuing to be actively engaged in the Transportation Summit and working closely with neighboring jurisdictions, King County and differing agencies to address transportation congestion and levels of service aimed at the needs of Issaquah.
The Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce remains committed to Issaquah’s economic vitality and in helping to craft policies that will enable Issaquah’s business community and citizens to thrive.
We thank the City and its Council for your work on behalf of our community and for your commitment to Issaquah being the best possible city it can be. The Chamber and its Board look forward to being of service and collectively helping Issaquah -- we are proud of our community and its accomplishments. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to meet to further discuss/brainstorm economic vitality and plans for the future, please do not hesitate to ask. We look forward to the opportunity.