Public Information and Education Coordinator, Spokane Regional Transportation Council
What would it take to establish the Inland Pacific Northwest as a major hub for global commerce? That's the question posed by a local transportation study. The groups and agencies behind the Inland Pacific Hub (IPH) Transportation Study want to share the experience of developing our area into a global gateway through a new website that has just been launched.
The IPH is a project to establish the Inland Northwest region as a multi-modal hub in order to increase international commerce. You can find out more about it at www.inlandpacifichub.org.
The IPH concept was developed by private and public sector representatives from Idaho and Washington who envision a future for the region that takes advantage of the potential economic development opportunities associated with regional, national, and international trade. Several agencies are working together to guide the study, including Spokane Regional Transportation Council, Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization, Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Idaho Transportation Department.
Because the IPH region is very large geographically, a website was developed as an informational tool to reach interested parties throughout the study area. The study area covers ten counties in Washington (Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman) and nine in Idaho (Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce and Shoshone).
The IPH website has information on the impetus for conducting this study; information on boards, committees, and agencies involved in the study; and documents developed during Phase 1 of the project. It also cites examples of why the Inland Northwest area would make a good hub for commerce; such as the fact that our central location enables companies to transport goods to multiple population centers in the western U.S. and the rest of the world. Also, our area already boasts potential economic development opportunities associated with international trade, such as affordable landing fees at Spokane International Airport, construction of a north/south freeway, a state-of-the-art port of entry at Eastport, ID with rail access, a major east-west running interstate, two class 1 railroads, a seaport in Lewiston, ID, and an ultra high-speed fiber optic network tying the region together.
Interested citizens and area business leaders can also use the site to ask questions about the IPH project and how they can get involved. Again, the website address is www.inlandpacifichub.org.