Tharinger: House proposes record-breaking $8.3 billion construction budget

OLYMPIA—Washington state would make historic investments in housing under the construction budget unveiled by Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend), chair of the House Capital Budget Committee. 

“Families in every corner of the state are hurt by the housing crisis,” Tharinger said. “That’s why we worked with lawmakers from both parties to craft this budget with a focus on housing, with $704 million invested in more affordable housing, emergency shelter funding, and home upgrades.” 

The $8.3 billion budget would set a new state record for construction funding.  

It includes $4.62 billion in new state bonds, $3.16 billion in other funding (federal, local, and dedicated state funds), $525 million in Climate Commitment Act Revenue and $160 million reserved for the supplemental budget in 2024. 

“This budget will create family-wage construction jobs around the state while building a better future,” Tharinger said. “We’re investing in better schools and universities, protecting the environment, and building essential local projects. This budget also makes massive investments in behavioral health facilities to address that statewide need.”

Highlights include: 

Affordable housing and home upgrades – $704 million 

  • $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund 
  • $75 million for utility and infrastructure costs related to affordable housing construction 
  • $50 million for affordable Transit-Oriented Development 
  • $40 million for land acquisition for affordable housing 
  • $14.5 million for youth shelter and transitional housing 
  • $83.2 million for whole-home energy retrofits 
  • $35 million for low-income weatherization  
  • $6 million for low-income rural home rehabilitation 

Behavioral health – $893 million 

  • $613 million for construction of a new 350-bed forensic hospital at Western State 
  • $211 million for competitive grants to community behavioral health providers 
  • $24 million for construction of a 48-bed civil commitment facility in southwest Washington 
  • $21 million for 136 new civil commitment beds at Maple Lane  
  • $13 million for family-centered drug treatment 

Clean energy and climate  

  • $198 million for electric heat pumps for low-income households and small businesses 
  • $60 million for the Clean Energy Fund 
  • $40 million for projects in hard-to-decarbonize sectors 
  • $20 million for solar and energy efficiency grants to public buildings 

Public schools, colleges and universities 

  • $806 million for K-12 construction, including $588 million for the School Construction Assistance Program 
  • $400 million for Community and Technical Colleges 
  • $344 million for public universities 

Community facilities  

  • $75 million for the Early Learning Facilities Fund 
  • $36 million for healthcare infrastructure, including $11.7 million for the Tubman Center 
  • $26 million for the Building Communities Fund program 

Essential public infrastructure  

  • $400 million for the Public Works Assistance Account  
  • $50 million for broadband matching dollars, leveraging federal funds 
  • $25 million for CERB infrastructure projects 

Other significant investments 

  • $150 million for new buildings on the capital campus along with renovations of the John L. O’Brien Building and Pritchard Building 
  • $129 million for Local Community & Projects  
  • $821 million in natural resource investments including drinking water, forest management, toxic cleanup, recreation and conservation, and state parks 

You can find more details about the proposed budget, including district project lists, by clicking here for the LEAP site.