Auburn benefits from state's capital budget

Auburn Reporter

Members of the Washington Legislature approved the state's 2011-13 biennial capital budget late last Wednesday.

Sen. Joe Fain, who represents the 47th Legislative District, which includes Auburn, was pleased to advocate for the projects funded by the legislation.

Passage of the capital budget was caught up in negotiations over legislation that would cap the state's debt limit.

"It was touch and go for a while there," said Fain, who supported the debt cap. "We have to end the boom-and-bust cycle of government funding. When times are tough and the construction industry is in decline, that's when government needs to have resources ready to invest in infrastructure."

The Legislature approved a 7-percent debt cap in the waning hours of the special session, paving the way for the capital budget's adoption.

Area projects that will receive state funding include:

• Green River Gorge & Icy Creek Trail ($540,828)

Controversy arose when some in the Legislature sought to break with the recommendations of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Fain was joined by Redmond Sen. Andy Hill and Mercer Island Sen. Steve Litzow in advocating for continued support of the WWRP process, ensuring funds for the Icy Creek Trail project.

 Green River Community College

Green River's Science, Math and Technology building also will benefit in the 2011 capital budget.

"This aging facility is close to 40 years old and lacks many of the safety and instructional amenities students should expect," Fain said.

• 'M' Street Southeast

The City of Auburn will also receive $6.8 million from the state to continue the grade separation project along M Street and the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe railway near Highway 18.

"Transportation infrastructure is the key to our local economy," Fain said. "Separating rail from car and pedestrian traffic will not only improve safety, but continues investments in freight mobility that aid our local manufacturing and warehousing companies."

• Levee Funding

The Green River Valley cities had joined forces in advocating for funds to shore up failing levees along the Green River. The state budget included an addition $4 million for capital construction, which is a necessary step in ensuring the safety of area homes and businesses.

"With thousands of homes and businesses located in the valley and billions of dollars in economic activity generated here, there is no higher priority than protecting our communities from flood," Fain said.