While Washington D.C. struggles to keep the government open, our Washington has sorted things out enough to agree on a new $4.2 billion capital budget including nearly $1 billion for schools, and $205 million in funding for projects in our own 43rd District.
“Our top priority when we returned to Olympia last week was passing the state capital budget, which funds the construction and renovation of our schools, public health facilities and community projects,” 43rd District Sen. and Capitol Hill resident Jamie Pedersen wrote to constituents about the agreement. “The legislature adjourned in July with no enacted capital budget for the first time in living memory, because the Senate Republicans refused to bring it to a vote due to an unrelated dispute involving rural water wells.”
With the water squabble solved, Governor Jay Inslee’s new budget includes nearly $2 billion for the construction of new school construction across the state. Pedersen also points out $106 million in the budget earmarked for the Housing Trust Fund, “the second-highest such investment in state history.”
The new budget helps push a handful of Capitol Hill area projects forward.
- More than $1 million in state funding will help Hugo House move into its new home when construction is completed on a new mixed-use building on 11th Ave. “This long-awaited news marks a significant milestone in our organization’s history,” Hugo House board president Dick Gemperle said. “Now that we know we have the funding from the state, Hugo House can move ahead with final construction bids and bring the project toward completion.” The new Hugo House is now scheduled to open in July 2018.
- Nearly $2 million will help complete the planned $6.5 million expansion of the Country Doctor clinic on 19th Ave E to include dental health services. We talked with the nonprofit provider about the hopes for progress in Olympia as part of a wave of Democratic resurgence on the West Coast following the November election. “In this political climate funding is fluid,” Shelley Lawson, grants manager with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, told CHS. “We have many community partners who are helping us overcome several obstacles to make this dental clinic a reality.” CDCHC expects the building to be ready and dental services to begin in early 2019.
- Other 43rd District line items include $1.5 million in each for the Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation and expansion, and the renovation of First Hill’s Town Hall, and a $1 million boost to the project to transform Seattle Central’s property on the southeast corner of Pine and Broadway into a homeless youth center. More than $90 million, meanwhile, is earmarked for work on University of Washington facilities.
You can view the full roster of 43rd District appropriations here:
Democrats touted the $65 million for “community mental health beds, and another $20 million to renovate both the Eastern and Western state hospitals. “This will mean good construction jobs in communities around our state, and better facilities for our residents,” Pedersen said.
43rd District Rep. Nicole Macri said the agreement is part of the “optimism” that “dominates the mood this session.” “This fall, Senate Democrats regained a slim one-vote majority through a special election, and the House still holds an equally tight Democratic majority,” she said in a message to constituents this weekend. “This means many progressive policies previously passed by the House only to ‘die’ in the Senate are now being resurrected and discussed in earnest in the Senate for the first time in several years. A few are already moving quickly through both chambers.”
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