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    Jobs, congestion relief the focus of Puget Sound Gateway kickoff

Jobs, congestion relief the focus of Puget Sound Gateway kickoff

As polarized as things seem right now, there is still at least one universal experience that unites us all – being stuck in traffic.

But there is good news.

I had the honor of attending the Puget Sound Gateway construction kickoff Tuesday. This project will help alleviate congestion on I-5 and elsewhere by closing major gaps on SR 167 from Puyallup to I-5 and the Port of Tacoma and on SR 509 from SeaTac to I-5.

In Pierce County, this project includes a new wider 70th Avenue East bridge and roundabout on SR 99 that will improve freight connections to the Port of Tacoma and provide more reliable trips for truckers and the travelling public and clears the way for the SR 167 to connect with I-5. To the north in King County, a SR 99 Bridge will be built in SeaTac that will allow the new SR 509 corridor to pass under, while Sound Transit’s light rail passes overhead.

This project will create jobs, improve trade, make our infrastructure move environmentally friendly and did I mention it is on track to be completed three years ahead of schedule?

The Puget Sound Gateway Project is crucial to the economic future of our state. I am proud of the work we did in the Senate in the Connecting Washington transportation investment package to help it come to fruition. There are projects throughout our state with the same noble goals as Gateway, but there are still many more communities that will require additional state funding to complete.

I plan to continue my work as Senate Transportation Chair to help deliver these projects to the communities that need them.

October 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|

Governor signs state transportation budget

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed House Bill 1160, the 2019-21 Transportation budget.

“This budget addresses the transportation needs of our state,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, chair of the Senate Transportation committee. “This was a good, bipartisan effort to keep our promises and move our state forward.”

There are several highlights and new investments made as part of the $9.8 billion, two year plan including the continued delivery of projects first adopted as part of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package.

New investments include a $35 million investment in the creation of a project office and pre-design work to continue the work for the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River. This will begin the reevaluation of scope, schedule, and budget for a reinvigorated bi-state effort.

Additional investments include providing $35 million in savings and $20 million in toll revenue to advance the design and complete right-of-way acquisition for the I-405 north end completion. This along with the funding provided by SB 5825, will be sufficient to complete this project. Several projects had funding advanced including $40 million for the SR 167/SR 509 Puget Sound Gateway project and $17 million for I-90 Snoqualmie Pass.

The Department of Transportation and the City of Tacoma are partnering in clean-up efforts to address the clearing of debris, hazardous material and implementing safety improvements along state highways within Tacoma city limits. This combined investment of $1.015 million will improve public health and safety and remove debris from right-of-ways.

Ferry investments include providing for the start of building a new 144-car hybrid electric vessel as well as the conversion of one existing ferry. The ferries division was provided $495,000 for the planning work needed to prepare for hybrid-electric vessel terminal charging investments. The Colman Dock project in Seattle and the Mukilteo terminal also received additional funding to keep those projects moving forward. Also included is $160,000 for a vessel noise reduction study aimed at helping protect the endangered southern resident orcas.

The Commute Trip Reduction program received a $1 million investment for a new first/last mile transportation demand management pilot program and $1 million for the continuation of a small businesses transit pass incentive.

With continued issues with maintaining a stable Washington State Patrol force $4.2 million was funded for a third cadet class and a position was funded for a recruitment and retention captain position.

“I’m proud of the bipartisan cooperation and outcome of this budget,” Hobbs said. “This is a good budget, but it is a bare-bones budget. Our state has many transportation needs and lack the means to meet them. Fish culverts, replacement of the I-5 bridge in Vancouver, the US 2 Trestle in Snohomish County and many other projects large and small across the state.”

May 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Senate honors Lake Stevens Eagles softball for advancing to 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

Senate honors Lake Stevens Eagles softball for advancing to 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

OLYMPIA – The Lake Stevens Eagles have become something of a regional softball powerhouse over the last several years.

Since 2013, the Eagles have won either gold or silver at the annual Special Olympics Washington State Softball Tournament. In 2018, the Eagles’ success landed them in the Special Olympics USA Games where they placed fourth in the nation.

On Wednesday, in recognition of this accomplishment, the state Senate ran a resolution honoring Lake Stevens for its success on the diamond.

“Having been born and raised in Lake Stevens, I can tell you that this team is a source of pride for everyone,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, the resolution’s sponsor. “These kids worked so hard and accomplished so much. They are an inspiration to our community and it is my honor to share their accomplishments with the rest of the state.”

Seattle served as host for the 2018 Special Olympics, which marked the 50th anniversary of the games. The event drew over 4,000 athletes and coaches to the Emerald City from across the nation to compete in 14 Olympic-type events.

The Eagles made more news last spring as actor Chris Pratt, a Lake Stevens native, raised money to help the team cover expenses during their run to the national games.

“The last year has been such a rewarding experience for our whole community, but it has been extra special for the families who got to watch their sons and daughters compete at this level,” said Hobbs, whose son Truman plays for the Eagles. “I think I can speak for every parent of a Lake Stevens Eagle that this summer provided us with memories that we will never forget.”

Lake Stevens Eagles roster: Walter (Ole) Aurdal, Traci Baughman, Casey Condit, Matt Condit, Tyler Duim, Scott Hayford, Truman Hobbs, Dawson Kellar, Lance Kleisath, Xaphya Madden, Nikki Osbjornsen, Jaimi Robertson, Darrell Zimmerman.
Coaches: Patty Studdard, Chuck Griffis.

April 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Senate explores the contributions, future of gaming in Washington state

Senate explores the contributions, future of gaming in Washington state

A recent work session in the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee explored contributions and future impacts the gaming industry has on Washington’s economy.

From large outfits like Renton-based Wizards of the Coast — which publishes titles like Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons and others – to small start-ups, gaming in the northwest is big business.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, chair of the committee and an avid table top gamer in his spare time, said that he believes this industry will continue to grow as it becomes more and more part of mainstream culture.

“As a loud and proud nerd myself, I can tell you that the level of passion people feel for this hobby is very real,” he said. “There is an enormous consumer base for this industry that has grown steadily over the last two decades and only intensified in recent years.”

All told, big publishers like Wizards, Paizo and others, as well as multitudes of small retail shops throughout the state, the sale of games, books, clothing, events, conferences and related collectibles generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-$2 billion in revenue annually.

Retail store owners, publishers and others testified during the work session, consistently touting Washington’s gaming industry as one of the nation’s most established.

“Gaming creates great jobs and draws people to our state both through tourism and as a destination for professionals looking to work on the cutting edge of the industry,” Hobbs said. “It’s also important to remember, and many of the people that testified reiterated, that this is more than an industry – it’s a community. Those of us involved in gaming are drawn to it because of the sense of family that comes with it.”

You can watch the entire work session by clicking here.

March 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    You’re invited: 44th District lawmakers to host town hall meeting in Lake Stevens

You’re invited: 44th District lawmakers to host town hall meeting in Lake Stevens

OLYMPIA—All three lawmakers representing the 44th Legislative District are joining together to host a town hall meeting on Saturday, March 23.

“This forum is a great way to meet us face to face, and talk person to person about how our work in Olympia can best improve our way of life in Snohomish County,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens).

The event is scheduled for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Lake Stevens Senior Center at 2302 Soper Hill Road.

“Town halls like this are a great opportunity for our constituents to learn about the work we are doing in Olympia, and share their comments and questions with us,” said House Speaker Pro Tem John Lovick (D-Mill Creek).

Hobbs and Lovick will be joined by their new seatmate, Rep. Jared Mead (D-Mill Creek).

“Listening is the foundation of leadership,” Mead said. “This great American experiment in democracy only works when every person knows they can stand up and be heard by their elected representatives. I’m looking forward to hearing your stories and ideas and hope to see you there!”

March 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Hobbs introduces Forward Washington transportation plan

OLYMPIA – Forward Washington — a comprehensive 10-year transportation and environmental plan to invest in infrastructure and green technology projects throughout the state — was introduced today by Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens).

This plan would address many of the state’s transportation and environmental needs but also serve as a jobs package, creating an estimated 65,000 family-wage jobs over the life of the plan.

“The infrastructure and environmental challenges we face should be treated as an opportunity, not a barrier,” said Hobbs. “These investments will create tens of thousands of jobs, modernize Washington’s transportation systems, and address some truly urgent environmental needs.”

Some of the plan’s additional highlights include:
• Funding for a badly-needed replacement for the I-5 Vancouver Bridge.
• Funding to rebuild the US 2 Trestle in Snohomish County.
• Transportation investments that benefit people with special needs, rural mobility, bike and pedestrian paths, commute trip reduction, and public transit.
• Numerous investments for repairs to roads, highways and bridges throughout the state.

Environmental investments include:
• Storm water cleanup, the No. 1 source of pollution in Puget Sound.
• Electrification of the state’s ferry vessels along with terminal and grid upgrades, reducing carbon and noise pollution.
• Fish culvert replacement.

A complete list of proposed projects can be found here.

Funding for this plan will come from a variety of sources, including a gas tax increase, transportation impact fees, truck and motorhome weight fees, and modest increases in additional transportation-related costs and fees.

The bulk of the environmental investments in this plan will be paid for by a new carbon fee. Hobbs, who said he didn’t support either of the two previous carbon measures on the ballot, said there are numerous key differences between his carbon fee plan and the past failed initiatives.

“This fee is locked in at $15 per metric ton, most of which is dedicated toward environmental improvements, including recommendations made by the governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force,” he said.

“Transportation is responsible for most of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. It makes sense to link a revenue source that addresses that problem to the cause of that problem.”

A complete list of funding sources and spending categories can be found here.

February 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|

Sen. Hobbs helps commemorate SR 99 tunnel opening

February 7th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Haley Tabor serves as page in Washington State Senate

Haley Tabor, 15, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of Jan. 14.

Pages are sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Senator Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, sponsored Tabor’s week in the Legislature.
“It was a privilege to host Haley at the Capitol this week,” said Hobbs. “I hope that she enjoyed her time with the Legislature.”

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The interactive learning experience includes classes focused on topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.

“I’ve really loved helping people out and doing my part. That’s really where the joy is in it for me,” said Tabor.

Pages also have the opportunity to work on the Senate floor. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus.

Tabor is in 9th grade at Cavelero High School. In her free time she enjoys studying all forms of dance and is currently cast as Mrs. Banks in her school’s production of Mary Poppins.

February 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Hobbs: Impact of gaming on Washington economy is “no fantasy”

Hobbs: Impact of gaming on Washington economy is “no fantasy”

With more than 600 employees and 18 offices worldwide, Wizards of the Coast, which publishes games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, has left its mark on both popular culture and the economy.

The company has grown from a tiny startup operated out of founder Peter Adkison’s Seattle basement in 1990 to a global power that boasts more than 20 million players and an annual economic impact estimated to be in the neighborhood of $1 billion.

“I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg here,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who recently visited Wizards of the Coast headquarters in Renton. “There is still a ton of potential for this industry to continue to grow. We’re fortunate here in Washington to have such an economic and influential pop culture force right in our own backyard.”

Hobbs, a self-confessed gaming nerd himself, said he plans to hold a work session in the Senate’s Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee during the 2019 session to better explore the full economic impact the gaming industry has on the state and if there are things lawmakers can do to help foster that impact.

“This is no fantasy,” Hobbs said. “There’s real money here, there’s real jobs here. I want to take a look at how we can continue to grow this industry in a way that builds on this already impressive and uniquely Washington story.”

December 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Sen. Hobbs re-elected to serve as chairman of Senate Transportation Committee

Sen. Hobbs re-elected to serve as chairman of Senate Transportation Committee

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, was selected this week to again serve as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Hobbs also retained his roles on the Senate’s newly named Energy, Climate & Technology Committee and on the Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committees.

This is Hobbs’ second year as chair of Transportation. The Lake Stevens lawmaker was elected to a fourth term earlier this month and has served on the committee since 2014.

“I’m excited to get back to work for the people of Snohomish County and the state,” Hobbs said. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but we have a lot of work to do to create a truly 21st Century infrastructure. I’m honored to be able to continue our work toward that goal.”

Hobbs was one of the key architects of the state’s historic and comprehensive transportation investment package in 2015. He has worked to deliver numerous transportation investments throughout Snohomish County over the years including improvements to Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens, repairs to the sinking stretch of 35th Avenue in Mill Creek and money to relieve the congested Frontier Village intersection to name a few.

The 2019 Legislative session begins on Jan. 14.

November 30th, 2018|Uncategorized|