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Letter to Honorable Karen G. Mills, Administrator of the SBA - Economic Injury Disaster Loan SBA Agency Declaration

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, members of the Washington Congressional delegation urged the Small Business Administration (SBA) to approve Washington state's request for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses impacted by the Skagit River Bridge collapse.

In a letter sent today to SBA Administrator Karen Mills, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), and U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) wrote:

"We urge the Small Business Administration (SBA) to promptly evaluate and approve Washington state's Certification for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan SBA Agency Declaration, allowing SBA personnel and disaster resources to deploy to Skagit County in the wake of the Interstate 5 (I-5) Skagit River bridge collapse on May 23, 2013."

Economic Injury Disaster Loans help impacted businesses cover uninsured expenses and financial obligations after a disaster. Loan amounts can be up to $2 million and depend on a business's financial need and disaster-related losses. Loan interest rates are 4 percent for a term up to 30 years. In order to qualify, the SBA must determine the business is unable to get credit elsewhere. More information about the loans and eligibility can be found here.

"The collapse significantly impacted I-5 traffic for four weeks, causing negative impacts to area small businesses and delaying movement of manufactured goods, tourists visiting the Skagit Valley, and locally-grown agricultural products," continued the delegation. "Therefore, we strongly support making SBA resources available to help mitigate negative economic impacts to Northwest Washington small businesses."

On June 13, the Northwest Washington delegation announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has made available $15.6 million in emergency funds to support temporary and permanent repairs to the I-5 Skagit River Bridge.

On June 19, a temporary bridge span over the Skagit River re-opened. A permanent replacement is expected to be in place by October. The bridge collapsed on May 23.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

June 25, 2013

The Honorable Karen G. Mills
Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20416

Dear Administrator Mills:

We urge the Small Business Administration (SBA) to promptly evaluate and approve Washington state's Certification for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan SBA Agency Declaration, allowing SBA personnel and disaster resources to deploy to Skagit County in the wake of the Interstate 5 (I-5) Skagit River bridge collapse on May 23, 2013.

As you can imagine, the collapse significantly impacted I-5 traffic for four weeks, causing negative impacts to area small businesses and delaying movement of manufactured goods, tourists visiting the Skagit Valley, and locally-grown agricultural products. Therefore, we strongly support making SBA resources available to help mitigate negative economic impacts to Northwest Washington small businesses.

It is not just local small businesses, though, that are feeling the impacts of the collapse. I-5 is a major United States - Canada trade corridor, with up to $20 billion in international freight traveling along the corridor annually. In fact, of the 71,000 vehicles that usually cross the Skagit River bridge daily, an estimated 12 percent are commercial. These shippers, agricultural producers, and manufacturers have been forced to ship goods outside of business hours, evaluate other shipping ports for export, and budget extra time -- and money -- to move freight and goods to market.

Thank you for your prompt evaluation and approval of Washington state's Certification. We look forward to working with you to bring much needed assistance to Northwest Washington to help small businesses impacted by the I-5 Skagit River bridge collapse.


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