OLYMPIA — Washington state Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) acknowledged how significant regional water-related investments of $40 million for the Yakima River Basin and Columbia River water supply contained in the new state spending plan will help to mitigate climate change.
The 15th District representative heralded the plan after Gov. Jay Inslee signed Washington’s new two-year state operating, capital-construction and transportation budgets on Tuesday, May 21.
Water storage is an essential element in reducing drought conditions which are major issues throughout the Lower Yakima Valley and western agricultural communities.
“That’s why it’s important that we received the full funding for the Yakima basin and the office of Columbia River to have the funding for them to be able to work and complete water projects,” Honeyford expressed, who served as the Senate’s Republican leader on the capital and bipartisan budget.
Inslee on Tuesday also approved the 2019-21 operating budget. The $52.4 billion package bolsters major reforms and expansions in community-based behavioral health, education and school construction, orca recovery, affordable housing and climate action, among other things.
The 2019-21 capital budget will provide nearly $500 million in flood prevention and water quality and supply projects around the state.
Honeyford explained that he had previously brought an expansive water bill to the house in which required $5 billion over 15-20 years.
“The house didn’t like that and said we can’t obligate that kind of money – so this year we spent $500 million,” Honeyford described with a profound chuckle in his voice.
“I thought it was a good plan, but they didn’t like it. Maybe, I’ll try again next year with something a little bit different.”