15th District priorities reflected in approved capital budget

The negotiated version of the next two-year state capital budget was approved by the Legislature today. Lawmakers representing the 15th Legislative District applauded the budget, which includes $19.4 million in critical funding for water, school construction, community projects and other infrastructure needs in the district.

“This is a strong budget for priorities we all have as Washingtonians, and for needs that were made even more important by the pandemic,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, who serves as the ranking Senate Republican for the capital budget. “I’m very pleased that we were able to get significant investments in broadband, behavioral health and housing, rural school construction, and funding for critical water projects statewide.”

The capital budget appropriates a total of $6.3 billion for the 2021-23 fiscal biennium. Of this amount, $3.9 billion is financed with general-obligation bonds. The remaining $2.4 billion consists of $589 million in federal stimulus funds, $275 million in Model Toxic Control Accounts, $255 million in alternative financing authorizations, and $1.2 billion in other funds.

Approximately $82 million in bond capacity is reserved for a supplemental capital budget.

“This capital spending plan protects our investments in the state’s infrastructure and provides maintenance and repair where it is needed most,” said Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger. “It is very balanced as it benefits communities across the 15th District as well as all corners of Washington.”

The lawmakers secured just over $19 million for projects in the 15th District, including:

  • $4.2 million for Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District;
  • $3 million for Boise Cascade Mill Site cleanup (Yakima);
  • $1.65 million for Astria Toppenish Hospital;
  • $1.5 million for Perry Tech (Yakima);
  • $1 million for Crusher Canyon Sewer Line (Selah);
  • $856,000 for the Selah-Robert Lince ELC and Kindergarten;
  • $300,000 for the Granger Historical Society Museum (Granger)
  • $642,000 for Yakima’s Miller Park (Yakima);
  • $508,000 for Sundome reflectors (Yakima);
  • $300,000 for the Selah-Moxee Irrigation District;
  • $21,000 for the Toppenish Junior Livestock Facility Planning; and
  • $235,000 for the Yakima Valley Fair (Grandview).

“The Boise Cascade Mill Site is the biggest economic development opportunity to hit the City of Yakima in a generation. We are glad to play a role in the cleanup,” said Rep. Jeremie Dufault, R-Selah. “We are also happy to do something positive for the residents of east Yakima by funding the restoration of Miller Park.”

In addition to broadband, the capital budget prioritizes school construction and projects that focus on mitigating the damage of environmental disasters and preserving and developing existing properties – all while leaving capacity in the budget to address unforeseen future needs.

Honeyford added that he is particularly happy that the state Department of Agriculture is provided $8 million in the budget to award competitive grants to state agricultural fairs for access and safety improvement projects.

“Agricultural fairs are critical to our ag communities and local economies,” said Honeyford. “This budget will provide the resources necessary to make sure fairs will be able to recommence in a safe and responsible manner.”

The capital budget, which was approved 49-0 in the Senate and 98-0 in the House, now goes to the governor for his consideration.