Renton State Rep. Steve Bergquist was elected by his colleagues this week to a seat on the House Rules Committee, the group that has the final say over which bills will, or will not, be debated and voted on by the full state House of Representatives.
According to the legislative web site, the House Rules Committee “considers all bills reported from policy and fiscal committees and determines whether, and in what order, to schedule their consideration on the floor of the House. The Rules Committee also reviews, adopts and schedules consideration of floor resolutions.”
Bergquist, a public school teacher and small-business owner who begins his fourth year in the Legislature in January, is deputy majority floor leader in the House, and sits on four other House committees: Education, Higher Education, Transportation, and State Government, where he serves as vice-chair. He said he’s honored by his new role.
“The Rules Committee is the eye of the needle in the House,” he said. “Thousands of bills might be introduced in a typical session. Only a fraction of those will make it through the policy committee process, and even fewer will be tapped by the Rules Committee for action by the full House. I plan to take this new responsibility seriously, and look forward helping to make sure that the bills we do vote on will be good for our state.”
The 2016 legislative session, slated to last 60 days, opens Monday, January 11.
Every lawmaker I know looks forward to visits with constituents, especially young people getting a first-hand look at what representative state government is all about. These bright faces belong to students from Excel Public Charter School in Kent, who dropped by my office during November’s Committee Assembly Days.
Soon, you’ll see a lot more men and women in hard hats, getting to work to build parks, schools and other local projects.
Up to 44,000 jobs will be created by the state’s new two-year construction budget. Local construction projects in the 11th District total $46 million and include:
- $1.75 million for Sunset Neighborhood Park
- $654,000 for the Sea Mar Latino History and Cultural Center
- $2.8 million for local community college improvements and repairs
- $36.8 million in environmental work
New state funding is a piece of a bigger puzzle for what’s happening in the Sunset Neighborhood. Click here to learn more about the plan for that area.
Funding for local schools
Our local school districts also receive state funds to help pay for new schools. We’re specifically investing $200 million to build more K-3 classrooms to reduce class size as part of the McCleary court decision to fully fund our public schools.
Here’s what else the construction budget is doing with a total of $1.6 billion in education and higher education projects:
- $900 million for colleges and universities
- $626 million to build elementary, middle and high schools
- Funding for Skill Centers and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
Automotive Technologies Complex at Renton Technical College
Construction started in July on this project, which includes remodeling three shop buildings of 45,900 square feet and replacing a fourth building that covers 17,600 square feet.
The new facility is designed to be flexible and adaptable, with minimal impact to ongoing operations. The $20.4 million total project budget includes $18.4 million from the state Capital Budget, supplemented with $2 million of local college funds. Completion is scheduled for April 2017.
Pedestrian bridge at Riverview Park
I’m happy to report that the pedestrian bridge at Riverview Park in Renton is being replaced. The old bridge had supports that were vulnerable to flooding and debris from the river. The new bridge will be a single span and therefore immune to those problems.
Here’s a great story in The Renton Reporter about the project, funded under previous budgets.
New aerospace training center in Renton
Another example of progress is happening in Renton, where classes have started for the first time at the new Washington Manufacturing Advanced Training Institute.
Here are highlights about what the Puget Sound Regional Council wrote about this important project:
Located in Renton, the training institute is focused on meeting a critical industry need for mid-level and master workers who understand supply chain management and “lean” techniques and how to apply those concepts to the manufacturing line.
The program was created in partnership with industry, the Aerospace Futures Alliance, the City of Renton, advanced industry content experts, and with capital funding from the Legislature.
The new training center emerged from a regional initiative to boost aerospace manufacturing. Last June the region secured a designation by the federal government as a manufacturing community, providing priority status in competition for billions in federal grants.
A deeper look at new construction funding
For an interactive map of new construction projects in your district, click on this map:
Even if you take the bus, the train or bike to work, the gridlock on I-405, I-167 and I-5 affects decisions we make every day. Countless working moms and dads get up at 5 in the morning in order to get their kids to child care and be at work on time.
We can do better.
This year, we worked with Republicans, Democrats and people from around Washington state to unite behind a $16.1 billion transportation package.
It’s not the normal transportation plan that we pass every two years. This is a big deal, with 100,000 new jobs over the next 16 years to tackle traffic hotspots and another 100,000 possible jobs if voters approve another round of Sound Transit construction.
There’s more in this than extra funding for highways, which is the most expensive possible option. It invests in choices like trains, buses, bicycles and walking paths, because we know not every can—or wants to—drive to work.
- $1 billion for transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects – a record high investment by the state in multimodal transportation.
- $638 million to help cities and counties with local transportation projects.
- $602 million to improve reliability and efficiency on the Washington State Ferries.
Locally, the biggest transit project is the RapidRide expansion of Burien-Delridge, a $19.26 million project.
Better transit agency coordination
We also passed legislation that will save money and create a more integrated public transportation system by encouraging transit agencies in different communities to work together. House Bill 1842 also law revamps the process for awarding Regional Mobility Grants to help support and encourage this coordination.
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