The Puget Sound region has one of the strongest manufacturing industries in the nation – it is a world leader in building airplanes and yachts, and has over 80 companies engaged in advanced manufacturing. As a result, the region was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce yesterday as one of 12 manufacturing communities in the United States, giving it access to a share of $1.3 billion appropriated federal funds to boost economic development.
Over 70 different regions applied for the status through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership – other regions that were recognized include Southwestern Alabama, the Chicago metro region, Southeastern Michigan, and the Tennessee Valley. The funds that will be directed to the Puget Sound will be managed by the Puget Sound Regional Council, whom already have a strategy in place to improve regional transportation, growth management, and economic development. PSRC hopes to implement specific initiatives including developing a biofuels industry and attracting investment for facilities near Boeing assembly sites.
In addition to four Western Washington counties, three counties in Eastern Washington will benefit from the federal funds. PSRC hopes to help expand Spokane’s aerospace community with the funds.