Tharinger: House construction budget means jobs and progress 

Capital budget proposal boosts housing, broadband, and infrastructure 

OLYMPIA—The state construction budget proposed by the House of Representatives would make massive new investments in affordable housing, access to broadband, early learning, and other vital infrastructure. 

“This is an unusually large supplemental budget because the challenges we face today are unusual,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend), chair of the House Capital Budget Committee. “We listened to each other and crafted a budget that tackles critical needs in every corner of the great state of Washington.” 

The $1.26 billion supplemental budget is vastly larger than normal due to one-time infusions of funds from the state general fund ($737 million) and aid from the federal government ($264 million). The remainder is funded via state bonds ($290 million). 

Major investments are broken down into the following areas: 

Affordable housing and behavioral health 

  • $300 million in rapid acquisition of housing and shelter facilities 
  • $100 million in permanent supportive housing through the Apple Health & Homes Account 
  • $15 million for homeless youth facilities 
  • $100 million for the Housing Trust Fund 
  • $100 million in behavioral health grants, focused on crisis stabilization 

Core infrastructure and economic development 

  • $120 million for public works projects 
  • $100 million in new broadband internet infrastructure 
  • $7.5 million for rural shovel-ready site development, to spur economic growth 
  • $33 million for LCP infrastructure projects 
  • $15 million for infrastructure projects at ports 
  • $109 million in water system improvements 

Early learning and K-12 

  • $47.5 million for early learning facility grants 
  • $45 million for seismic refits in K-12 schools 
  • $18 million in funding for distressed schools 
  • $6 million for school modernization projects 

Climate change and energy efficiency 

  • $30 million for weatherization  
  • $17.7 million in Clean Energy Fund projects 
  • $7.5 million for clean energy test beds at the University of Washington 
  • $5.2 million to expand dental facilities 
  • $1.5 million for the removal of T-12 lighting at schools 

“This budget will create great family-wage construction jobs now while building a better future for generations to come,” Tharinger said. “I’m proud of how lawmakers from both parties and different parts of the state came together to craft this budget to build a better Washington.” 

You can find more details about the budget here. The legislation—a proposed substitute for the original text of House Bill 1738is scheduled for a hearing the House Capital Budget Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22. A vote in that committee is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24.