Washington state Number Two in the nation for gas tax

The Tax Foundation is out with its annual rankings for state gas taxes (see map below), and Washington ranks second in the nation at 49.4 cents per gallon (numbers don't include the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon). But before you start wringing your hands, consider the Foundation's take on this particular form of taxation:

Environmental review process for coal export facility is inching along

A draft environmental impact statement (EIS) has finally been released for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export project in Longview. The project was first proposed back in February 2012.

A positive outlook for West Coast ports, and will robots handle more cargo in the future?

The Journal of Commerce has an interesting story on the outlook for West Coast ports. 2015 wasn't a great year: "If the recession year of 2009 is excluded, laden containers moving through West Coast ports in 2015 hit the lowest level in 10 years." But Washington ports did see growth:

Permitting and port competitiveness

Former U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda has a nice op-ed in the Puget Sound Business Journal today. He notes that maritime industry stakeholders are concerned about infrastructure permitting.

A really big ship and the future of our ports

Mike Moore of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association has an interesting op-ed in the Seattle Times. As many news outlets have reported, the largest container ship to ever come to a Washington port arrived in Seattle yesterday. Moore writes,

Infrastructure and the ports

The Panama Canal is being widened to allow passage of larger ships. This means West Coast ports will face more competition from East Coast ports (see here for more). The ports of Seattle and Tacoma merged their marine cargo functions last year (to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance), in part to "strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more marine cargo for the region."

Opportunity Scorecard update: Washington drops to 28th

Opportunity Washington is out with the first update to its quarterly Opportunity Washington Scorecard. The Washington Research Council is a partner with Opportunity Washington on the Scorecard, which is a data-driven analysis of 50-state performance across three categories:

Recommended reading: The current issue of AWB's Washington Business magazine

The current issue of AWB's Washington Business magazine is particularly good. The cover story (beginning on page 32) is about Washington's maritime sector and the challenges it faces (and is written by our former president, Richard Davis).

Trade and maritime activity have long defined Washington. And the industry is well positioned to thrive here for decades to come. Natural advantages, however, won’t be enough.

Policy Today podcast: Hon. David Matsuda on keeping Washington's maritime trade sector competitive

We're pleased to welcome David Matsuda, a national transportation expert who was in Seattle last week for the Northwest Marine Trade Association's Maritime Economic Forecast breakfast. Mr. Matsuda recently served as U.S. Maritime Administrator, where he managed more than $1 billion of federal investment into U.S. ports, shipyards and shipbuilding projects.