Schoesler helps pass capital budget containing major local investments

OLYMPIA…State government’s new two-year budget for public construction and other capital projects sailed through the Legislature recently, and Sen. Mark Schoesler says the plan contains plenty of investments to benefit communities and residents across the 9th Legislative District.

“This budget addresses needs in our region that range from higher education and public safety to water infrastructure and historic preservation – and I’m very pleased that it also supports important repairs and upgrades for state parks in our area,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

Broadly, Schoesler said, the $4.2 billion budget is geared toward education and toward helping people with mental illness. The level of support for building, renovating or modernizing K-12 facilities is historic, at more than $1 billion. Mental-health needs, another priority for Senate Republicans, would receive $132 million, he said, divided between community behavioral health projects and state hospital projects (approximately $90 million and $42 million respectively).

Also, the new capital budget includes $860 million in total appropriations for higher-education facilities, split almost evenly between Washington’s community and technical college system and its public four-year institutions, including Washington State University.

Schoesler, who is Senate Republican leader, noted that final passage of the capital budget (Senate Bill 6090) came quickly once the Senate and House of Representatives reached a compromise solution to the rural water-access concerns caused by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision.

“Our side had made it clear that we would vote on the capital budget as soon as the Democrat leaders in the House did what the Senate had done four times already, which was to have a vote on fixing the Hirst situation,” he said. “We figured it wouldn’t be consistent to authorize tens of millions in spending on urban water infrastructure, through the capital budget, as long as the Hirst ruling was preventing rural property owners from making water investments of their own.”

The new capital budget was signed and took effect the day after Schoesler and a majority of his fellow lawmakers voted to pass it. Ninth District investments include:

  • WSU Plant Sciences Building – $52,000,000
  • WSU Global Animal Health Building – $23,000,000
  • WSU preservation work – $28,975,000
  • Coyote Ridge Correctional Center security electronics network renovation – $6,000,000
  • Othello water supply and storage – $1,550,000
  • Adams County Industrial Wastewater and Treatment Center (Othello) – $1,250,000
  • Fields Spring State Park repairs and improvements – $1,109,000
  • Othello Regional Water Project (Othello) – $1,000,000
  • WSU – STEM Teaching Labs – $1,000,000
  • Steptoe Butte State Park road improvements – $443,000
  • Community Health Association of Spokane (Clarkston) – $391,000
  • Port of Garfield, Central Ferry boat launch – $220,000
  • Palouse Falls State Park day use area renovation – $209,000
  • Gladish Community and Cultural Center restoration (Pullman) – $131,000
  • The Old Hotel Art Gallery (Othello) renovation and upgrades – $56,000
  • German American Bank Building (Ritzville) restoration– $45,000

For a complete list of 9th District projects click here.