State budgets invest substantially in 36th District infrastructure

SEATTLE – Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) and Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) today welcomed the governor’s signature on budgets that invest substantially in infrastructure in the 36th Legislative District over the next two years.

Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday in Olympia signed a $52.4 billion operating budget and a $4.9 billion capital construction budget making investments across the state in behavioral health, affordable housing, education and the environment.

He also signed a $9.8 billion transportation budget that includes new projects as well as continued delivery of projects first adopted as part of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package.

“I’m thrilled that our 36th district team was able to secure high-value, targeted public investments in safety and storm-water on the Aurora Bridge, in the Magnolia/Ballard corridor, in the Pacific Science Center and more,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee. “As our city continues to grow, it’s vital that we prioritize public infrastructure that benefits our long-term quality of life.”

Both the capital and operating budgets invest in bridges in the 36th District.

The construction budget allocates $1.5 million for infrastructure to clean polluted storm-water runoff at both ends of the Aurora Bridge. Storm-water runoff is the greatest source of pollution to Puget Sound, killing salmon, harming the food web that sustains our orcas and posing a significant hazard to public health.

The transportation budget awards $700,000 to install variable, digital speed signs on both approaches to the bridge to reduce speeds and increase safety. The displays – overhead structures capable of displaying dynamic messages – would be similar to others on Seattle-area freeways.

“We’ve seen success with electronic speed limit signs in other areas of Seattle,” Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) said “Putting them on the Aurora Bridge will help traffic flow more smoothly and give drivers more time to react. Adjusting these signs according to the road, weather and traffic conditions will help prevent accidents and reduce congestion, making the bridge and our community safer.”

The transportation budget also allocates another $700,000 for planning on how to maintain current and future capacities of the Magnolia and Ballard bridges. That includes an examination of how to replace the Magnolia Bridge and recommendations on a timeline for constructing new Magnolia and Ballard bridges.

Other infrastructure investments in the 36th District include $1 million to restore the public dock structure at Pier 86, site of the proposed North Elliot Bay Public Dock and Marine Transit Terminal, and $750,000 to help the Ballard Food Bank purchase land to build a new permanent home and community resource hub.

“As so many of our neighbors have struggled with food insecurity, the Ballard Food Bank has stepped up in a big way, becoming a crucial part of the social services fabric of our community,” said Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard), chair of the House Finance Committee.

“The new site will be more accessible to the surrounding neighborhoods. The Ballard Food Bank will be able to grow their home delivery program and the Weekend Food for Kids program, and serve as a conduit to connect people with needed services in the areas of mental health, substance use, health care and housing. I am so happy to help secure this funding along with my fellow seatmates and cannot wait to see an expanded Ballard Food Bank.”

The capital budget invests $3.1 million for Seattle Public Schools to upgrade heating and ventilation systems at North Beach Elementary and for classroom additions and modernizations at other schools. It further allocates $382,000 for renovations to the Ballard Locks Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery and $30,000 for the Phinney Neighborhood Association under a grant program supporting public access to history.

The capital budget also awards Building for the Arts grants to support the Music Center of the Northwest ($300,000) and the Nordic Heritage Museum ($2 million), which Congress last month designated the “National Nordic Museum.”

The operating budget also invests in the 36th district, including $2.7 million in funding each biennium, starting in 2021, to make capital improvements to the Pacific Science Center. The facility has not received any meaningful public investment since it was built in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Other notable funding just outside the 36th District under the capital budget includes:

  • $1.7 million to support the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting American Indian and Alaska Native people both physically and spiritually.
  • $1 million to support the Seattle Aquarium.
  • $200,000 to allow Farestart – which provides foodservice training and job placement programs for homeless and low-income adults – to make equipment upgrades to two kitchens and a restaurant in downtown Seattle.