Dear friends and neighbors,
We accomplished a lot during this year’s 105-day legislative session. In addition to passing a wide range of bills improving the quality of life in our communities, we finished on time and passed construction, transportation and operating budgets for the next two years.
I’m pleased that both the construction and transportation budgets had bipartisan support and that each one makes a number of significant investments in our communities.
Construction Budget – our infrastructure budget includes:
• $3 million to improve affordable, in-district health care options at the Issaquah Opportunity Center.
• $2 million for Encompass Northwest to build a facility in Snoqualmie to provide pediatric therapy and early learning services.
• $400,000 for a pilot project to clean up firefighting chemicals (PFAS) that have leached into drinking water.
• $412,000 to support the outdoor Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activities Center, which is open to the public.
• $113,000 to update interactive educational exhibits at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
• $102,000 to help construct a new memorial in Maple Valley honoring veterans.
• $200,000 to help make parking improvements at Lake Wilderness Park.
• $154,000 to lay the groundwork to build infrastructure and attract business investment at the legacy site in the heart of Maple Valley.
• $250,000 to strengthen the South Fork Snoqualmie Levee System, to reduce the duration of flooding in North Bend.
• $229,000 for the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie to restore the last surviving Puget Sound Electric Railway interurban.
Transportation Budget: the budget includes funding to keep the project to build a new interchange at State Route 18 and Interstate 90 on schedule to finish by 2023. It also includes $27 million in new funds to begin the design process to make SR 18 four lanes all the way to Issaquah-Hobart Road – the first phase of that project – in 2023.
Operating Budget: Unfortunately, the operating budget did not enjoy bipartisan support and relied too much on raising taxes. I agreed to raise taxes to support the wide-ranging transportation budget package in 2015, to support light rail in 2016 and to solve the McCleary lawsuit over K-12 education funding in 2017. But this year, it seemed we were raising taxes because we could, not because we needed to. I couldn’t support that, so I had to vote “no.”
Moving forward, a number of my bills and others that advance policies I advocated for are now on Gov. Inslee’s desk awaiting his signature. I’ll have another report on them for you in the coming weeks.