Senate passes Brown’s bill to encourage job growth

Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act will help resuscitate local economies, says Brown

Today the Senate voted 28-21 to pass the Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act, aimed at helping local communities create jobs by speeding up the permitting process for large-scale projects of statewide significance.

Sen. Sharon Brown, deputy Senate leader, called the bill an instrumental part of the Senate majority’s pro-growth jobs agenda.

“The goal of the CPR Act is to help resuscitate some of our local economies – especially those in rural and economically depressed urban areas,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “The bill is focused on creating jobs in our state by encouraging economic development and making sure projects with real economic benefits get through the permitting process faster, and it would do so without changing the regulatory requirements.”

In 1997 a process was enacted to expedite the development of industrial projects of statewide significance. To qualify for designation as a project of statewide significance, a project must meet capital-investment or job-creation requirements.

Senate Bill 5621 would provide a way for local governments and state and federal agencies to streamline the review process for more projects of statewide significance and encourage a more timely completion of those projects. The measure would expand the number of projects eligible for that designation, to include slightly smaller projects in rural and urban areas.

Brown cited the replacement of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River, completed in July 2014, as an example of how expediting and streamlining a permitting process can have dramatic benefits.

On May 23, 2013, a portion of the bridge collapsed into the river after being struck by an oversized load. According to the Department of Transportation, in just six months, contractor crews:

  • Removed the collapsed span from the Skagit River;
  • Installed a temporary span to reopen the bridge to traffic;
  • Constructed and installed a permanent replacement span; and
  • Retrofitted and reinforced the overhead steel-support structure.

“In less than 14 months, we were able to get the job done,” Brown added. “This common-sense bill would allow us to use that same process again to allow other projects with community economic impacts to be completed quickly and safely. It shouldn’t take an emergency for government to operate in an efficient and effective manner.”

The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.