International trade now accounts for 40 percent of all jobs in Washington and is the largest single driver of the state’s economy, according to a report to be released earlier this week. So what’s that have to do with transportation? I just wanted to use it as a chance to point out why projects like the Inland Pacific Hub (IPH) study and the North Spokane Corridor (NSC) are important to our region.
As an Asian gateway to the United States, Washington state has been cashing in on its ties to China, which now ranks as the state’s top trading partner, followed by Canada, Japan and South Korea. Exports to China have increased 230 percent since 2004, while imports coming through the state’s ports on their way to other U.S. destinations have created thousands of new jobs.
The IPH is a project to transform the Inland Northwest into a hub for commerce, vital to the global economy. We’ve already got the international trade coming through the state, so why not capitalize on it in our area? The study is looking at ways to do this. And the NSC, when complete, will allow freight to be moved more quickly to Canada, and vice versa and over to the coast to China.
Here’s more on Washington’s trade statistics from the Tri-City Herald. It’s an interesting read.