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Wash. Senate Unveils Construction Budget

Sat May 08, 2010 - West Edition

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) Senate Democrats on March 5 unveiled a scaled-down capital budget that they said will create 4,800 jobs.

The $5.7 billion supplemental budget includes $39 million for new construction projects, including campus improvements at the University of Washington. It also includes a $139 million cut in bonds because of a loss of revenue for the state, along with $150 million that was transferred from the capital budget to the operating budget.

The proposal is a 4.8 percent reduction from the budget approved last year. Instead of starting any major new programs “we’re trying to keep the ones we have,” said Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, who is the Senate’s construction budget chief. The largest new project in the proposal, $115 million for Puget Sound clean up, is being paid for by December’s settlement from Asarco LLC for superfund sites in the region. Lawmakers expect to save $50 million due to construction bids that are coming in less than expected as contractors try to compete in a poor economy.

Lawmakers said the budget proposal will fully pay for building projects that were approved by local voters.

Other in-progress construction projects include projects on university campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane and Ellensburg; human services facilities in King County and Yakima and performing arts centers in East King County, Bellingham and the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.