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TACOMA, WA-The Port of Tacoma Commission has earmarked $63.6 million for its 2002 operating budget and $127.1 million for capital improvements in an effort to meet the needs of existing and future shipping line customers.

Of the $127.1 million invested in capital improvements during 2002, $27.9 million will be invested in improving the Port’s existing international container terminals. Another $18.9 million is earmarked for intermodal rail and road improvements.

The Port’s five-year capital improvement program calls for up to $403 million in new investments, both to expand existing facilities and terminals and build additional terminals. The Port Commission reviews and approves all capital improvement projects on a case-by-case basis, evaluating them in light of financial, market, and economic factors as well as the Port’s goal of creating 15,000 jobs by 2015 at wage rates 15 percent higher than the state average.

“Our capital improvement program keeps us focused and flexible,” says Jack Fabulich, Vice President of the Commission. “We don’t build major new terminals on speculation. We build when we have a customer signed on the dotted line.”

In support of the capital program, Port Commissioners also approved an $8.4 million tax levy. The millage rate for the levy is 18.59 cents per $1000 in assessed value, or $18.59 on a $100,000 home. Historically, the Port has worked to keep the Port tax levy at a low level. The approved levy is well below the $17.8 million allowed by I-747.

The Port’s planned capital improvement projects for 2002 include a variety of major construction projects expected to create an estimated 848 direct construction jobs in Washington state. Every million dollars spent on Port construction creates nine year-long jobs. Throughout Pierce County, more than 28,000 jobs are related to the Port’s activities. At the state level, one in three jobs is related to international trade.

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