We’ll be checking for West Seattle specifics on this announcement made today – but for starters, we wanted to share the news release that just hit the inbox:
Mayor announces Seattle Jobs Forward package
Calls for immediate local action to create jobs and boost economy
SEATTLE – Mayor Greg Nickels today announced Seattle Jobs Forward, a
package of immediate local action to create more than 1,500 direct jobs
and boost Seattle’s economy over the next 24 months. These steps are
also expected to generate 2,000 additional jobs in the local community.
“Every level of government has a role to play in a national economic
recovery,” said Nickels. “The city of Seattle must act promptly and
deliberately to put people to work and get our local economy moving.
Working together, we will move projects forward and accelerate capital
projects that are already funded.”
The city of Seattle’s existing capital improvement plan puts more
than $1 billion into the local economy during the same time frame,
creating 5,000 direct jobs.
Seattle Jobs Forward includes $315 million in projects from local
levies and the city’s capital improvement program that will be
prioritized to create jobs in 2009 and 2010:
● Transportation projects. The mayor led the effort to secure funding
for fixing Mercer and Spokane Streets, two projects that will create
immediate construction jobs and improve vital transportation corridors.
Nickels also proposes accelerating $16 million in sidewalk and paving
● Infrastructure projects. Seattle Jobs Forward moves up $21 million
in basic infrastructure projects by Seattle City Light and Seattle
Public Utilities, including environmental work, pole replacements and
transfer station improvements.
● Community spaces projects. The mayor proposes accelerating more
than $54 million in improvements to public spaces, such as parks,
trails, Pike Place Market, Seattle Center and our urban forests.
Many of these projects were originally slated to be completed over the
next several years. While city revenues have declined in recent months,
funding for these prioritized projects has already been identified and
they can be accelerated without raising taxes or fees. The City Council
will be asked to make budget adjustments to create these jobs more
“This action is timely and important to our workers. Moving ahead
quickly with these projects will help jump-start local jobs and keep our
people working,” said Lee Newgent, Executive Secretary of the
Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO.
Nickels’ proposal also includes business assistance, including some
immediate steps to help small businesses and encourage private-sector
and institutional investment in our local economy:
● Small business loan fund. The city of Seattle is partnering with
the National Development Council, the Seattle Foundation and King County
to develop a new loan fund that will help loosen up credit for
businesses at low interest rates and could be targeted to finance
business development and expansion in our key industry sectors. The
fund is currently being capitalized at $8 million and will launch in the
first half of 2009.
● Extending permits. Extending the life of master use permits and
building permits will give developers more time to complete their
projects without having to resubmit plans.
● Interbay Planned Action Ordinance. Through legislation, the city
will identify environmental mitigation for future development at
Interbay in accordance with the existing zoning. This will significantly
decrease the permitting time for future businesses, giving them
certainty as they apply for permits and making the site more competitive
in the region for future job growth. The city will also work with the
Port of Seattle to support this industrially zoned property by
identifying sources of infrastructure financing for improvements to the
● Cutting red tape. The city can raise the threshold of when it
enacts the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), which directs public
agencies to consider environmental information before issuing permits.
With Council approval, the threshold changes would apply primarily to
development in urban villages. The SEPA process can add months to the
review process and is often redundant because the city has revised
development regulations to better anticipate environmental issues.
Projects would still go through the design review process.