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July 26, 2012 at 3:22 PM

State leaders oppose Sodo arena, citing port concerns

Bipartisan transportation leaders in the Washington Legislature say they oppose the proposed Sodo arena because of the potential negative impact to the Port of Seattle and the state’s trade economy.

Four legislators submitted an op-ed to The Seattle Times this week: Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, the chair of the Housee Transportation Committee; Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee; Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee, the ranking minority member of the House Transportation Committee; and Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, the ranking minority member of the Senate Transportation Committee.

The four say the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma must be operating at a high level to compete with other regions of the country for business and to export Eastern Washington agriculture.

“A healthy and functioning Port of Seattle is absolutely crucial to the state’s economic well-being and we can support nothing that in any way further impedes operations at the Port of Seattle.”

The leaders said they couldn’t support an arena in Sodo “if there is even the slightest risk to our trade-based economy.”

The op-ed notes that millions have been spent on freight infrastructure in Sodo including the BNSF railyard, Amtrak and Sounder trains, and Port freight operations. It also argues that major infrastructure improvements had been discussed before “the additional congestion of an arena became a consideration.”

The Port of Seattle has been an outspoken opponent of the arena proposal, citing a threat to its operations and future growth, though a recent story in the Times showed that the Port lacked hard data to support its traffic concerns.

Comments | Topics: arena, legislators, Port of Seattle

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