Brown scores major wins for Tri-Cities in final approved capital budget

Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, said today she is pleased that her work to get significant funding for local colleges, historical projects and other key community improvements paid off with more than $8 million in funding for 8th District projects included in the final 2021-23 capital budget.

Brown pushed aggressively to make sure several projects important to the Tri-Cities are included in the two-year spending plan, approved today, including $2.75 million for the Three Rivers Behavioral Health Recovery Center in Kennewick and $900,000 for a replacement Hospice House in Richland.

“These are vital projects for our community,” said Brown, who serves as an assistant Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “We knew we had a mental- and behavioral-health crisis even before the pandemic, but those issues have only been exacerbated by the isolation of the shutdown and closure of schools.

“I am happy to support this budget, which provides more than 428 million dollars toward behavioral-health services statewide, with specific investments here in the Tri-Cities.”

Key 8th District projects funded in the capital budget include:

  • $2.75 million for the Three Rivers Behavioral Health Recovery Center (Kennewick);
  • $1.03 million for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (Kennewick);
  • $2 million for the Columbia River water supply development program (West Richland/Pasco);
  • $900,000 for a replacement of the Hospice House (Richland);
  • $500,000 in Washington Wildlife Recreation grant for the FP Hoch Family Farm Agricultural Easement; and,
  • $46,000 for the Flag Plaza Redevelopment (Kennewick).

While it is technically not in the district, Brown was also able to secure $1 million in funding for the Esther’s House Project, which will serve people in need from throughout the Tri-Cities region.

Brown also applauded the budget for tackling the need for affordable housing. The capital budget includes:

  • $20 million to preserve aging affordable-housing units to continue to serve low-income residents;
  • $100.8 million for the purchase of homeless or emergency shelters, permanent supportive housing, or affordable housing for low-income people;
  • $42 million for grants to local governments and public utility districts to assist in the cost of utility improvements or connections to new affordable-housing projects; and
  • $5 million for housing for individuals with developmental disabilities.

“There is an affordable-housing crisis in our state, and this is particularly true in some areas of the Tri-Cities,” said Brown. “Making this level of support for housing programs is significant and will make a difference in the lives of many Washingtonians who are struggling to put a roof over their family’s heads.”

The capital budget is used to improve, build and repair public-works projects around the state, including public parks and lands, state-owned buildings and other capital projects. It is separate from the state operating budget.

The capital budget passed unanimously in the Senate and House, and now heads to the governor for his consideration.