Connecting Our Region
Throughout the 2000s, the Chamber supported improving regional mobility across the Puget Sound. In 2003, the Chamber helped to drive the “Nickel” package which raised the gas tax by five cents - a necessity in order to restore purchasing power which had been lost to inflation since the last gas tax increase in 1991.Our fight for improved mobility did not stop there. In 2005, the Chamber formed the Transportation Partnership - a coalition of business, labor, local government and environmental representatives from around the state - who advocated for a comprehensive solution to Seattle’s transportation challenges. As 2007-8 chair Jim Warjone, stated “It’s the artery system of our region and we need to complete it.” The decade came to an end with one of Seattle’s greatest mobility triumphs, the establishment of Sound Transits, Link Light Rail, which opened in April 2009.
In September 2007, the Chamber held its Annual Meeting. Where 1500 business and civic leaders got together to discuss the value of regional partnerships. Warjone asked Chamber members to get involved and help to deepen relationships with elected officials, and support efforts that ensured fiscal responsibility. Our celebration wrapped up with the pledge to carry on the spirit of the Chamber’s founders: “All of us here today stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. To take that theme of the past forward, we must become the pioneers of the future, just as they did.”
Towards the end of the decade, the Chamber saw global warming and other environmental issues come to a boil. As a result the Chamber hosted the first in a series of dialogues addressing what the implications of climate change could have on the environmental and economic health of our region. Since then, Chamber staff and members have continued to advocate for environmental problems facing our region.