Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington State University
December 17, 2001
Good morning. Thank you for that kind introduction.
I’m happy to be here today to deliver some good economic news at a time when all of us can use some good news.
We’ve found a way to restart our $880 million state building and facilities construction budget for the 2001-03 biennium -- and then some.
Our proposal will save a total of 2,800 new jobs our state was counting on and create 1,400 new jobs beyond that -- new construction, new jobs, new stimulation for the economy.
I am confident that the Legislature will support our plan and the jobs it creates. And it's important this bipartisan plan passes in the first week of the next legislative session. And not only this plan -- let's do the same thing with the Public Works Trust Fund, the program we use to provide money for local water and sewer projects and local roads. Let’s get this plan passed the first week of session because there's no time to waste -- because when times are tough, it's time to act.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks, we put a hold on the state building and facilities construction budget. Revenues were plummeting. In fact, the November 20 revenue forecast took $813 million in operating income off the table, reducing our ability to finance construction projects by almost $200 million. But the bad news spurred us to good ideas. We know construction projects can go a long way to stimulate an ailing economy. We found a way to refinance state projects threatened by the revenue problem but in a way that will inject another $100 million into projects -- local construction and local jobs for local economies. And they have the benefit of bolstering the needs of higher education in regions such as Whitman County.
And it means more economic activity and more jobs right here in Pullman, making badly-needed renovations at Washington State University, which is bursting at the seams with students of all ages wanting and needing education.
These released funds and resumed projects mean hundreds of new, regional jobs.
Our plan means $23 million for construction of a state of the art steam and electricity energy plant.
It means $11.8 million for expansion of campus utility systems, roads and pedestrian walkways.
- $10.9 million for the Murrow Hall addition.
- $10.6 million for the Shock Physics Building
- $6 million for minor capital improvements
- $3.5 million for design work on the BioScience Building and Johnson Hall addition
- $2 million for design work on the WSU Spokane Academic Center Building that will house teaching and research programs in Spokane
- 5-6 million in assorted renovations and repairs at various WSU research centers.
And there are additional county and regional projects that will be restarted, projects that will create an economic ripple effect. These include:
- $2.7 million for Eastern Washington University
- $6.4 million for a building at Columbia Basin Community College
- $5.6 million for a new library at Spokane Falls Community College.
New projects -- features of our economic stimulus package -- total $7.6 million for this region, for everything from facility repairs at Spokane Falls Community College to renovations at Eastern.
Again, I want to thank the leaders of Washington State University and all of you for inviting me here today. You have a beautiful campus, and we are happy to be taking action that will make it an even better place to educate our citizens.
Here's our plan:
We will restart the full state building and facilities construction programs, providing an additional $100 million for an array of construction projects in towns both big and small all across the state.
Everyone comes up a winner: construction workers, local communities, our colleges and universities.
And while I'm on the subject of creating jobs… we must enact a long-term transportation plan that benefits both sides of Washington, East and West. It's critical to the economic future of our state.
I will continue to do everything in my power to get that job done. We're economically challenged right now. There has never been a more important time to take action on transportation.
I'm glad we're solving our state building and facilities construction problem -- and creating even more jobs. But frankly, the most important thing the Legislature can do this winter is approve a transportation-improvement plan. With it, we can build on our successes, and without it, we can kiss the successes goodbye.
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