Potential New Funding for Infrastructure and Broadband Projects — Public Works Board

Paula Reeves, AICP

APA Washington Chapter was invited to participate in the Public Works Board (PWB) workshop on August 7th, 2020, where two funding proposals were discussed. PWB hopes to submit these two proposals to the State Legislature in the coming session. 

The first proposal requests $250 million in funding for traditional infrastructure projects based on the need estimated for 32 projects that qualified for funding in the 2019 competitive funding cycle and additional shovel ready projects. The second proposal requests $80 million in local broadband infrastructure construction, pre-construction planning and emergency construction loans from taxable bonds, based on a local agency survey responses. During the work session there was a recommendation to increase both funding requests. PWB will finalize these proposals before September 11. 

The Governor has established goals for infrastructure investments and grant programs this year related to equity, economic recovery and community development which must be demonstrated by these proposed decision packages and the projects they fund. Planners may be asked to assist their Public Works staff in planning for infrastructure, broadband priorities, and justification of local projects in terms of equity, economic recovery and community development. Washington State Department of Health offers new resources to help communities discuss equity and COVID19 response and economic recovery. This can be found on the WA DOH Washington Tracking Network (Environmental Health Disparities) website.