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GreenLight Manufacturing Brief #10

The Facts
For every dollar
invested in transit, the local economy experiences a return on that investment of up to six dollars.

Transportation, Jobs, and Our Future Regional Economy

Transportation is the mainstay of our economy; communities and businesses depend on a network that provides reliable, safe, and efficient service. Transportation projects: 1) create direct jobs in construction, operations, and manufacturing; 2) links people to jobs, education, and services; 3) facilitates robust commerce & industry clusters. The transportation decisions we make now can affirm our regions industrial competitive edge, uphold our leadership in technology and infrastructure, and set an example for a world-class, modern, green & efficient network of infrastructure.

A comprehensive study by the Federal

Transit Authority found, during the 1990s, transit investments returned:

$23 billion/year in affordable mobility for households that cannot afford a car or cannot drive due Job Creation, Access, and Advantage to age or disability $19.4 billion/year in reduced congestion delays for rush-hour passengers and motorists $10 billion/year in

The transportation system employs millions of Americans and is an essential component in our states economy. Transportation creates sustainable jobs that are immune from outsourcing and draws workers from diverse populations. Many counties in Washington still have double digit unemployment rates. Transportation investments must optimize job creation and retention. Transportation provides access to jobs and opportunities across all regions in Washington. Without multiple transportation choices many

reduced auto ownership costs for residents of livable neighborhoods $12 billion/year in reduced auto emissions $2 billion/year savings in local human service agency budgets 2% boost in property tax receipts from commercial real estate

are forced to endure the high costs of auto travel or must depend on long and infrequent transit trips. Those who have the option to commute by public transportation save on fuel, operating, licensing, insurance, and financing costs. A historical bias towards building new roads has limited our ability to move people to jobs, education and services. This bias must be reversed to optimize the freight mobility/people mobility balance. Our elected officials and civic leaders strive to create vibrant places to live, work, shop and play. They are working to attract businesses, many who are enticed by areas that provide access to nearby transit choices, restaurants, coffee shops, personal services and more. Transportation projects must be planned and implemented to improve connections to economic opportunity for workers. This includes transportation planning that takes into account our regions industrial capabilities and how to increase our capacity to produce and move goods on the one hand, while on the other hand efficiently moving people to and from their jobs. Targeted workforce development strategies should also help improve linkages to access the broad range of living-wage job opportunities afforded us by our unique economic and industrial mix. Reliance on an out-dated and oil-dependent transportation system represents a serious competitive disadvantage in todays global economy. Our systems crumbling bridges and overburdened and dwindling transit systems do not meet Washingtonians needs and hamstring our ability to build a 21st Century economy. Without balanced investments to fix our existing system, improve the multimodal transportation system, and create affordable transit communities, Washingtons system will continue to fall behind. We will remain mired in congestion, stalling the efficient movement of people and good across the region.

Forty percent of
commute trips into downtown Seattle are taken by transit (King County Metro).

Twenty percent of
commute trips into downtown Bellevue are by transit.

Maximize, Prioritize, and Reform

Transportation dollars must be used to maximize job creation helping to reemploy the under- and unemployed now. Washington is facing the impacts of recession, unprecedented budget challenges, and severe shortfalls. Continued road repair needs will make these shortfalls even more challenging and acute. We can catch up on maintenance and repair by investing first to fix our current system for moving freight and people efficiently. We can update the way we evaluate investments in new capacity to make sure that these support the creation of good jobs, economic development, and

Switching from driving to riding

public transit could save the average American about 4800 per month, or $9,596 per year (American Public Transit


community returns. Prioritizing smart investments can help grow the economy and expand the tax base. Smart Growth America analyzed stimulusfunded infrastructure projects and jobs generated across the country. The report concluded that investments in road maintenance/repair and transit construction projects were far more efficient than original road capacity expansion at producing employment (see Fig. 1). Each stimulus dollar spent on public transportation, for instance, yielded 70 percent more job hours than a dollar spent on new road capacity.
Fig. 1. Jobs Created per Investment Type (source: Surface Transportation Policy Project)

Transit Investment and Built-in-Washington Solutions

Smart investments in transportation also drives demand for the manufactured components used to build and operate systems. With the right kind of leadership and a refocusing of priorities, there is no reason why our region cannot be a leader in rail production for

the future. The Seattle metropolitan area has the potential to create a strong transit vehicle industry. The Pacifica manufacturing company of Seattle recently entered into partnership with Czech manufacturer Inekon to build streetcars for the North American market, including Seattles First Hill Line. It is a proven design with high-quality workmanship, and is a competitive product for the over 20 American cities currently developing or constructing streetcar systems. Pacifica also plans to train new workers in King County to maintain these systems across the country. However, we must support smart industrial development which will create good jobs not only in assembly but also within the existing local aerospace and marine manufacturing supply base. Our particular regional manufacturing clusters have the capability to also produce components for transit vehicles, being of substantially similar materials. Here are some potential approaches: Drive demand for transit industry & manufacturing through prioritized transportation investments- public transportation projects that maximize freight mobility, new fixed-guideway projects, and road maintenance Support flexible permitting for transit-related business activities and devise a collaborative Green Industrial Zoning strategy which includes manufacturing for these types of advanced products Support sustainable communities as a transportationinvestment goal, as a means of attracting new businesses and talent Coordinate the public sector (ie Port of Seattle, Sound Transit, City of Seattle, King County) around the development of assets and coordinated purchasing that could support local transportation manufacturing Develop a consortium within the local supply chain that could maximize effectiveness of existing financing tools (for example New Markets Tax Credits and Community Development Block Grants) for transportation manufacturing

The Worker Center, AFL-CIO is an equal opportunity employer and provider of employment and training services. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.