The Legislature tonight passed the 2017-19 biennial capital budget with a vote of 95-1 in the House and a vote of 49-0 in the Senate. Budget writers reached an agreement last year but lawmakers had not yet voted to approve it without having yet reached agreement on high profile water policy legislation. The budget still requires the governor’s signature.
The capital budget provides funding for two priority construction projects in Pullman critical to the future of plant and animal agriculture in Washington. Lawmakers approved $52 million in funding to construct the Plant Sciences Building, which will replace half-century old facilities to facilitate modern plant research and develop new varieties that enhance competiveness and ward off disease. The Global Animal Health Phase II project received $23 million in construction funding and would be the new home of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which accreditors have repeatedly warned needs a new facility to continue the crucial monitoring for animal diseases for the region.
The budget provides $3 million in design funding for the Academic Building in the Tri-Cities and $500,000 in predesign funding for the Life Sciences Building in Vancouver. Both projects will help support students pursuing STEM disciplines.
Also approved by lawmakers is $22.3 million to support facility preservation efforts, $10.1 million for preventative maintenance, and $2 million for additional equipment purchases for the JCDREAM materials science research collaborative.