OLYMPIA – A new proposal would see Washington taxpayers spend some $9 billion over the next two years to build more affordable housing and centers to treat mental health, expand broadband and improve the environment, and boost construction at public schools and universities. Several high-profile Spokane projects are also funded in the latest construction budget legislators have pitched.
House and Senate negotiators announced a proposed deal Friday on the 2023-25 Capital Construction Budget, which covers most major and many minor projects that don’t involve transportation.
Both chambers will have to pass the budget before Sunday night, when the 105-day session ends at midnight. Because it has projects in every district in the state, the Capital Construction Budget usually passes easily once negotiators reach an agreement on total amounts.
It proposes spending $872 million on public school construction around the state.
The budget sets aside a total of $400 million for affordable housing projects around the state, along with $224 million for behavioral health projects. It calls for spending $400 million on public works projects, $200 million to expand broadband access around the state, $177 million on flood control and habitat restoration, and $184 million to clean up toxic waste.
In Spokane, the budget proposes spending some $6.3 million on renovations at Avista Stadium, which are part of an effort to meet Major League Baseball requirements for the Spokane Indians franchise.
It sets aside $70 million for projects at Eastern Washington, including $58 million for the second phase of the Science Building renovation. Washington State University would get a total of $96 million, of that $40 million for a new Engineering Student Success Building and $7 million for the Spokane Team Health Building.
Spokane-area community projects in the budget proposal include the following:
• $4 million for the Spokane Treatment and Recovery Service
• $2 million for Volunteers of America Crosswalk
• $2 million to the Spokane County Library District
• $1.8 million to the Spokane Valley Summit Theater
• $1.5 million to the Spokane Civic Theater
• $1.2 million to the Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center
• $1 million to the American Indian Community Center
• $1 million to Spokane International Airport.
The proposal and a summary of all projects can be found at www.fiscal.wa.gov.