Late Tuesday evening, the Washington state Legislature passed a bipartisan capital budget for 2015-17 that would build more than 500 new K-12 classrooms, make the largest-ever investment in state parks and trails, and devote $60 million to local-government infrastructure projects statewide.
The $3.9 billion plan would also fund construction and maintenance of schools, skills centers and other local projects.
Local4th District lawmakers secured funding in the Senate capital-budget proposal for construction projects throughout area, including $1.1 million for the third and final phase of the Spokane Valley Tech addition at 115 S. University Road.
“4thh District taxpayers send a lot of their money to Olympia,” Sen. Mike Padden said. “This budget brings money back home to help fund important projects in our community, as well as creates and preserves jobs.”
“Projects such as the Spokane Valley Tech addition will help train our next generation of workers for the unfilled STEM-related jobs here in the Spokane Valley and rest of Washington.”
Rep. Bob McCaslin called the capital budget the product of a team effort, and highlighted cooperation needed to prioritize capital-budget dollars.
“I am proud to stand in support of the 2015-17 capital budget with Senator Padden and Representative Shea,” McCaslin said. “This budget funds a number of important projects in our community, including the completion of the final phase of the Spokane Valley Tech addition, as well as improvements to Mount Spokane State Park. I look forward to seeing these projects completed, and want to thank budget negotiators on both sides of the aisle for working together in a spirit of compromise for the betterment of our communities and the state.”
The lawmakers were also pleased to see that the budget includes $1.8 million for the next phase of the Appleway Trail development. Located just south of Sprague Avenue, along the former Milwaukie Railroad right-of-way, the development creates a green space and trail where walkers, bicyclists, strollers, joggers and others can enjoy the outdoors away from busy traffic.
The trail, when completed, will connect the areas to the east with the Spokane Transit Authority Center at University and Appleway, with a paved trail – linking business and residential areas.
“The Appleway Trail project will help to make the neighborhood safer and extend the opportunity for people to go riding and enjoy the trails,” added Rep. Matt Shea, who supported the capital-budget proposal in the House. “I’m also glad to see funding for Spokane Valley Tech, which is a great resource for our community.
There’s money to help keep Fairchild Air Force Base in the area, and funding for renovations at Spokane Community College. I’m proud to be a part of the 4th District team with Senator Padden and Representative McCaslin, and to have had a hand in making sure these projects stayed in the capital budget during negotiations in the House.”
The capital-budget proposal also contains additional funding for other projects in the 4th District, including:
- Minor Works Preservation ($730,000);
- Roof repairs in the Spokane Community College system ($85,000);
- Mount Spokane Lodge ($904,000);
- Mount Spokane Nordic Area improvement and horse camp development ($182,000)
- Mount Spokane road improvements ($2,400,000); and
- Natural-resources investments ($4,000,000).
The capital budget – Engrossed House Bill 1115 – passed 44-1 in the Senate and 96-2 in the House. The capital budget was signed into law shortly before midnight by Gov. Jay Inslee and went into effect July 1.