While legislators successfully approved new operating and transportation budgets during their recent session, schools, cities and counties across the state of Washington are feeling the consequences of legislators’ failure to pass a capital budget. The capital budget funds hundreds of construction projects and supports more than 19,000 jobs.
Senate Republicans are openly leveraging the capital budget until legislators reach agreement on how to address an unrelated Supreme Court decision related to water rights. Gov. Jay Inslee has repeatedly called on the Senate to de-link the two issues to ensure much-needed construction projects aren’t unnecessarily delayed.
Failure to pass a capital budget affects a wide range of programs and all of the state’s 39 counties. The budget includes projects to build new schools, update water treatment systems, expand capacity at health clinics, preserve historic places, reduce pollution, improve state parks, protect against flooding and wildfires, modernize mental health facilities, and more.
The budget has over $1 billion in school construction funds, including $20 million to improve distressed schools in Seattle, $15 million to replace North Pines Middle School in Spokane Valley, and $620,000 for upgrades to the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver. In some cases, a delay in state funding is expected to result in increased construction costs.
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.