Now that the special session in Olympia is finished and budgets have been passed, it’s time to see how our capital priorities fared (spoiler alert: very well!).
Granted, the operating budget isn’t something anybody we know is celebrating. Cuts to K-12 and higher education, as well as social services and various other programs will hurt a lot of people. We’re all hoping our economy improves so everyone can prosper in all sectors.
As for funding for regional capital projects, let’s see the good news for the greater Spokane region.
The capital budget – passed by the House and Senate on the last day of the special session – has several important projects for Spokane.
At the top of the list is $35 million for the Biomedical and Health Sciences Phase I Building at WSU Spokane. This project was our top capital priority, and we’re pleased that our region was given $35 million. The total cost of the building is about $70 million, and we’re looking forward to working with our elected officials to secure the rest of the funding. You can read our entire statement on this project here.
Other items in the capital budget will help build for the future in our region. Patterson Hall at Eastern Washington University received $30.5 million, and Spokane Falls Community College received $17.6 million. Another $17 million is allocated to storm water overflow improvements in Spokane.
The capital budget also stipulates that the Washington National Guard will transfer land at Geiger Field to Spokane Community College that will be traded with Spokane International Airport to set up the Aerospace Technology Center. This is great news for our region’s aerospace industry.
More funded projects can be found here.
The state’s transportation budget is also a win for our region. $72 million will go to continued construction of the North Spokane Corridor. $15.8 million will help widen I-90 in Spokane Valley, while $12 million will help replace the Keller Ferry.
The takeaway from all of this is that it is vital to have a unified voice in Olympia advocating on behalf of our region. This is exactly why we take a large delegation each year to Olympia (we also take one each year to Washington D.C.). Here’s one quote that sums up our advocacy work for the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building at WSU Spokane:
“The Spokane community really pulled out the stops in coming over to Olympia and pointing out the long-term benefits, not just for Spokane but the whole state.” – Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane.
We’ll continue to do just that – unify the business community and ensure Spokane is progressing well into the future.