By Sydney Brown
WNPA Olympia Press Service
OLYMPIA – Lawmakers unanimously passed a $ 6.23 billion capital budget on April 2, allocating millions of state and federal funds to invest in community projects and public works.
“We have put in place a budget that not only meets the infrastructure needs of large urban centers, but prioritizes rural communities struggling to survive in the aftermath of the pandemic,” said Representative Mike Steele, R-Chelan, in a press release.
For education, the proposal provides $ 781.7 million for the K-12 school construction assistance program and $ 679 million for four-year public institutions. The proposal also offers $ 191 million for the construction of the University of Washington Teaching Hospital.
The budget also includes funding for local projects and grants, with $ 227 million in loans and grants for the Public Works Council and $ 94 million statewide for community projects.
Another $ 175 million would go to the Housing Trust Fund. Almost $ 26 million would go towards grants to increase the capacity of homeless shelters.
“We are investing $ 90 million in what we call rapid housing acquisition… What this is designed to do is help communities in immediate need house people,” said Senator David Frockt, D -Seattle.
Money for local health services would also get funding, with $ 69.5 million dedicated to Western State Hospital, Eastern State Hospital and other public facilities.
Improving state parks is also a priority in the capital budget. The State Parks and Recreation Commission would get $ 56.7 million for state parks. Longer-term projects would get $ 5.7 billion – some of which comes from general bonds – for schools, public works and parks.
The plan would spend $ 33.7 million for the Yakima River Basin and $ 31.7 million for the Columbia River Board. Another $ 189 million from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund would fund health surveillance and education projects.
The Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund is investing $ 400 million in expanding broadband access, water and wastewater.
A list by county of capital projects funded by this bill is available here: http://fiscal.wa.gov/CapitalCountyMap.aspx