OLYMPIA— Projects throughout the 1st Legislative District could be unnecessarily delayed if Senate Republicans continue refusing to negotiate a state capital budget.
In April, the House passed its version of the capital budget on a strongly bipartisan 95-2 vote. It proposed a total of $4.15 billion in construction projects across the state, including new school construction, clean drinking water investments, funding for salmon recovery programs, expansion and upgrading of mental health facilities, and housing programs.
Now Senate Republicans are refusing to come to an agreement on the capital budget due to a disagreement with House Democrats over an unrelated issue. That issue is a Supreme Court decision known as Hirst, which protects water for fish and other senior water rights holders but has prevented some rural property owners from being able to dig new wells. Both sides of the aisle have proposed solutions to help these property owners, but so far no compromise has been reached. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans’ refusal to negotiate could mean capital projects statewide will not receive funding in the upcoming biennium.
In the 1st Legislative District, projects at risk include:
- $3 million for the pre-construction phase of a new building to house the Computer Science and Engineering programs at UW Bothell
- Nearly $3 million total in grant funding for the North Creek Regional Trail, Wayne Sammamish Riverfront Regional Park, and the bridge replacement for Bothell Landing trail
- Over $300,000 for Bothell parks
- $100,000 for cleanup of leaking underground tanks at the Filbert Drive site in Bothell
“The capital budget isn’t just about building and maintaining our public infrastructure. It’s about good-paying jobs that support families in every community,” said Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland. “For every million dollars this budget invests, about 18 jobs are created. The budget we passed in April would create about 75,000 jobs statewide while addressing the needs of our communities. It’s unconscionable to think we would delay those projects and the jobs that come with them.”
Other critical investments funded through the capital budget include:
- Building K-12 schools for the state’s 1.1 million school children, so they don’t spend another year in portable classrooms
- Investing in early learning facilities to help our youngest learners get the strongest possible start
- Forest fire prevention as we enter the fire season
- Funding for our state colleges and universities
- Funding for our community and technical colleges
- Housing investments to address homelessness or help at-risk families
- Investments in clean energy, solar, and energy efficiency