House unanimously approves 2021-23 bipartisan capital budget

The Washington State House of Representatives unanimously approved the bipartisan 2021-23 capital budget Friday.

Rep. Mike Steele, the ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee, helped lead the effort that produced a plan allocating $5.7 billion, $3.5 billion of which is from the sale of general obligation bonds, for long-term infrastructure projects such as schools, parks, water infrastructure, habitat, and other public buildings in Washington state.

“The capital budget doesn't get as much attention as other spending plans, but it should. This budget puts people before politics,” said Steele. “It's truly a 100 percent bipartisan effort—something that can't be said about the state's other spending plans, which usually devolve into partisan disagreements on policies and priorities.”

With the recent passage of federal legislation, the state expects to allocate additional construction funding that includes $189 million from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, provided to enable work, education, and health monitoring, and $400 million from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund for investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

The 12th District lawmaker says that along with federal monies, the state's construction plans, outlined in House Bill 1080, include significant coronavirus relief for communities across the state, especially in rural areas.

“I'm proud of this historic two-year plan. Our focus was on putting people back to work and bolstering the economy,” said Steele. “We've put together a budget that not only provides for the infrastructure needs of big urban centers, but prioritizes rural communities struggling to survive in the pandemic's aftermath.”

Some highlights from the proposed capital budget include:

  • $781.7 million for the K-12 School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP).
  • $679 million, including $504 million in bonds, for the state's four-year institutions.
  • $227 million for the Public Works Board for grants and loans to local governments for infrastructure projects.
  • $191 million to begin construction of the University of Washington teaching hospital.
  • $175 million for the Housing Trust Fund.
  • $94 million for local and community projects statewide.
  • $69.5 million to increase capacity and service for civil and forensic patients at Western State Hospital, Eastern State Hospital, and state-run community settings.
  • $56.7 million to the State Parks and Recreation Commission for improvements to state parks statewide, including the new state park in Nisqually.
  • $33.7 million for the Yakima River Basin.
  • $31.7 million for the Office of the Columbia River.
  • $25.9 million for grants to increase enhanced shelter capacity.

The 105-day remote 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end April 25.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov