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County Council gives its unanimous support to King County’s federal legislative agenda


Continued focus on programs that support goals of County’s Strategic Plan


The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted a federal agenda that calls on the state’s Congressional delegation to work with King County in receiving the support the county needs to achieve the goals of the King County Strategic Plan.

“Sustaining a strong regional economy, improving King County’s transportation system, supporting safe communities, and protecting our environment require a strong, effective partnership with our federal government,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “Personally advocating on behalf of the people of King County with our Congressional Representatives presents a significant opportunity to achieve these priorities.”

“The federal government is our strategic partner that enables us to leverage infrastructure to promote jobs and a more vibrant economy,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “Support for our efforts with the Eastside Rail Corridor is one of many important parts of this agenda.”

Adopted by the Council in 2010, the King County Strategic Plan is the organizing framework for the County’s operations and measurement of its performance. Developed in collaboration with the three branches of County Government—Executive, Legislative and Judicial—the plan is the roadmap being used to meet the challenges facing King County.

“I’m looking forward to working with our congressional delegation to share information with each other on meeting specific needs of our citizens,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “Our agenda is well thought out by the Executive and Council working with the input of all our departments. The agenda is also clear in what our needs are as we have many issues facing us. These meetings are always productive as both levels of government work collaboratively.”

“Our 2015 Federal Legislative Agenda highlights King County's commitment to strengthen our region’s economy, protect our environment, and serve all residents by promoting fairness and opportunity,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “I am particularly pleased that the Council is reaffirming its support for additional funding from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. I will continue to advocate for critical funding for the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge, so that regional light rail service can be accessible to North Seattle residents both East and West of I-5.”

For FY 2016, King County is asking the Congressional delegation to assist in protecting essential functions and infrastructure that are part of the Strategic Plan. The programs will also assist King County in its continuing effort to become a thriving hub of economic development and job creation.

The agenda includes:

Economic Growth and Built Environment: The County wants to encourage a growing and diverse economy that will support vibrant, thriving, and sustainable communities.

Transportation: The County is calling for the federal government to maintain support for existing federal funding streams for transportation, and reauthorization of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century including focus on the State of Good Repair infrastructure program and transit systems. The County is also seeking increased funding for the Federal Highway Trust Fund and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants.

Levees: King County continues to seek regulatory certainty and engagement of the US Army Corps in the adoption of a System Wide Improvement Framework (SWIF) that allows jurisdictions to develop a long-term plan for levee stability and public safety while taking into account regional differences.

Eastside Rail Corridor: King County seeks federal support for the regional effort to design and develop key connections and compatible uses for the Eastside Rail Corridor which integrates economic development, transportation and utility needs. At this time, no federal program adequately meets the funding or eligibility needs of this project.

Health and Human Potential: Providing equitable opportunities for all individuals to realize their full potential.

Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Medicaid Rule Change: Today, institutions that have over 16 beds dedicated to serving adults impacted by mental illness or drug addiction are excluded from Medicaid payment unless a waiver is provided. The County supports a rule change to allow treatment for stays of less than 30 days in a larger mental health or substance abuse treatment facility. We fully support legislation repealing the IMD exclusion altogether.

Affordable Care Act Implementation: Through a coordinated county-wide effort to spread enrollment information and assist the uninsured with enrollment, more than 195,000 King County residents have enrolled in health insurance plans because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The County continues support the continued implementation of the ACA at the federal, state and local levels.

Justice and Safety: Supporting safe communities and accessible justice systems for all.

Enhancing Public Safety by Coordinating Levels of Government: The County supports changes to federal policy that would allow banks to work with state licensed marijuana businesses, such as the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act. Under current law, banks are prohibited from working with these businesses, which means they are dealing in cash transactions increasing risk of theft and creating other regulatory challenges. The County wants legislative action that would add certainty for banks and legal marijuana businesses.

Environmental Sustainability: Safeguarding and enhancing King County’s natural resources and environment.

Lower Duwamish Cleanup: The County supports a collaborative effort that promotes cleanup of the site as safely and a quickly as possible. The County seeks support for an appropriate decision from the EPA on Superfund Cleanup of the Lower Duwamish Waterway that meets these goals and does not add additional cleanup actions that are costly and offer few environmental or health benefits.

Oil and Coal Mining and Transport: The County requests that federal decisions relating to coal and oil include the complete lifestyle costs and benefits of mining, transport and export, including economic, environmental, health and infrastructure impacts.

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