Senate capital budget makes major investments in mental-health, housing, and education

More resources for community projects around the state.

The Washington State Senate released a bipartisan capital budget plan of over $5 billion that includes significant funding for key legislative priorities in mental health, education, housing, parks and water projects around the state.

With significant priority placed on addressing the state’s mental health needs, the proposal includes $119 million for community mental-health infrastructure and capacity, funding design of the new University of Washington mental-health training hospital and a new 500-bed state hospital.

“While the Legislature is making significant policy reforms to our state’s mental-health system, we have to build to meet that demand as well,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, the ranking Republican for the capital budget. “These investments will help ensure people have a place to get treatment and facilitate a pipeline of trained staff that is badly needed.”

The proposal, which is scheduled for a public hearing today, would invest $175 million in the Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing and homelessness projects.

The Senate’s proposed plan includes over $1 billion for K-12 school construction, including $23 million for small and rural school modernization. The budget also provides $25 million in grant funding for early learning facilities.

Higher education institutions would also see significant investments. Washington State University would receive its final round of funding for the global animal health facility of over $36 million, and Central Washington University’s nutrition science building would be allocated $32 million. The Senate’s proposal also funds more projects for the state’s community and technical colleges. Broadband internet initiatives are funded to the tune of $15 million, bringing much-needed internet connectivity to rural regions of Washington.

The capital budget is also a significant funder of outdoor recreation in Washington. The Senate’s proposal seeks to more efficiently fund state parks, which would receive a total of $63 million, by creating an innovative $33-million pool of resources for maintenance. Notably, the proposed capital budget would provide $2 million in grants to improve health and safety at state fairs, and infuse resources for additional grants at youth recreation centers such as Boys and Girls clubs.

Also included is $14 million for forest hazard reduction, aimed at wildfire prevention. The Senate’s approach would provide significant funding for water projects throughout Washington, including $40 million for the Columbian River Basin and $40 million for the Yakima Basin.

Click here to see more details on the Senate capital budget.