Economic Impacts of the GPT Development

Economic Impact Report Prepared by Public Financial Management: “The Impact of the Development of the Gateway Pacific Terminal on the Whatcom County Economy”

Download Report
Download Executive Summary
Download CWB Press Release

Key Report Findings:

  • GPT could put other economic growth at risk, and be a net loss for the local economy.
  • Mitigation of GPT impacts will create costs for our community. 
  • The GPT could generatesignificant coal train traffic through Bellingham and Whatcom County, which will:

Increase noise and nuisance, threatening the quality of life that currently attracts residents, businesses, and visitors.
Limit access to and re-development of the waterfront, its businesses, parks, and resultant direct and indirect jobs.

About This Report:

This report is the first in our series of commissioned reports. At the end of last summer, each member of the Bellingham City Council was consulted to identify his or her top priorities for information related to the GPT proposal.  A better understanding of the project’s possible economic impacts was at the top of everyone’s list.  We are pleased to begin our report series to the City with this comprehensive economic analysis.  The bulk of the study provides data-rich insights into our local economy.  It also provides a framework for evaluating how the GPT could interact with our future economic growth.

In preparing this report, PFM conducted meetings in Bellingham, Olympia, and Bellevue and met with over 50 individuals representing a diverse set of interests and viewpoints.  These meetings included City, County, and State officials, as well as representatives of SSA Marine, Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, local businesses, and not-for-profit entities.

The Communitywise Bellingham Report Series:

In March 2012, we will begin publishing a series of reports examining the potential environmental and economic impacts of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. The intention is to provide a solid, independently researched resource for the community.