Successful legislative advocacy facilitates projects that support jobs, our community, and the environment

July 25, 2023 | News

The Port of Anacortes identifies legislative priorities each year to help focus our advocacy efforts on projects that make responsible use of public funds and bring significant benefit to Anacortes and our region. In 2023 we identified and advocated for the following priorities:

  • Local, state, and federal funding for T-Dock replacement at the Cap Sante Marina
  • Adjusting our designation as a small port for USDOT MARAD Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) funding (also for T-Dock replacement)
  • Funding for Port electrification and marine terminal commercial pump-out
  • Addressing federal in-water construction permitting issues

As presented by Insight Strategic Partners at the July 6 Port Commission meeting, we were successful in many of these efforts, garnering $1 million for T-Dock reconfiguration; $800,000 for a new commercial pump-out system, which will help the tugboats, emergency response and other vessels berthed at the Port comply with new Ecology regulations for sewage discharge; and $500,000 to electrify Port equipment, infrastructure, and technology and install zero-emission shore-to-ship power. We also supported $26.5 million in state appropriations for competitive port electrification grants across Washington, as well as $328 million from the Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA) account for dozens of projects and an additional $50 million in future funding for MTCA projects through 2025.

On top of our primary priorities, we supported the extension of local government authority to implement the .09% public facilities tax through 2054. This is a local sales and use tax that rural counties can impose to fund public facilities and economic development activities, including to provide affordable workforce housing. While this program has been widely used across the state, efforts to extend the taxing authority have stalled in past sessions due to uncertainty about how jurisdictions have spent the funds. The Port of Anacortes helped advocate to push the extension forward, seeing the bill successfully pass with adjustments to ensure consistent reporting about the use of funds generated through the program.

Our efforts to streamline and expand funding for derelict vessel remediation were met with support in both the House and Senate. House Bill 1753, which had unanimous support throughout the session and was delivered to the Governor for signature on April 19, reduced the requirements for notices of intent to obtain custody of a derelict vessel. Senate Bill 5192 was also supported unanimously throughout the session and was signed into law on April 6. This bill, which takes effect July 23, 2023, allows administrative law judges to serve in place of the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB), which frees up PCHB capacity to manage derelict vessel removal appeals.

We are grateful for the continued support of our legislators in the 40th Legislative District – Sen. Liz Lovelett and Reps. Debra Lekanoff and Alex Ramel – and our legislators in the 10th Legislative District – Sen. Ron Muzzall and Reps. Clyde Shavers and Dave Paul. Their willingness to give their time and attention to our priorities helped ensure these efforts bore fruit for the Port and our community.

We’d also like to thank Insight Strategic Partners for their hard work and expertise in helping us advocate for our 2023 legislative priorities during the busy, extended legislative session this year. This year’s session was the first to be held fully in person since 2020—it introduced dozens of newly elected officials in Olympia and required skillfully navigating a great deal of uncertainty about future revenue projections. You can hear more about this year’s session by viewing the presentation here on our website.

We are already working with our partners to identify 2024 legislative priorities. Next year’s session is a short one, just 60 days, and in that time we expect to share information on a number of priorities that will help the Port continue to serve our community and our region as a partner, an economic engine, and a steward of our shared environment.