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Published on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You CAN compete successfully for capital budget funding

Read on if you are a city interested in seeking capital budget funding. Although we speak in terms of “capital budget,” it is essentially two budgets in one. One component is bonded and the other component includes various accounts affiliated with grant and loan programs such as the Public Works Assistance Account, Model Toxics Control Account, etc. The bonded portion is where line item projects occur. We are anticipating approximately $1.4 to $1.7 billion in bonds for the 2013-2015 budget. K-12 and then higher education are the first two priorities on this budget. Additional programs are also bonded, such as the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. As a rule of thumb, this leaves approximately $50 million or slightly more that is available for line-item projects. Competition is fierce, but cities have successfully received funds.


Don’t wait. If your city chooses to seek capital budget funding, it is in your interest to pursue line items in the Governor’s proposal and then work with your respective delegations in the House and Senate. If you are unsuccessful in the Governor’s proposal, all is not lost; work with your delegation.

Helpful guidelines when making a request

  • Seek a realistic amount. Projects over $5 million are uncommon. Projects in the $1M or less amount are better received.
  • Describe why this project is unique. An immediate screen will be to determine whether or not the proponent has sought funding in existing state programs. If your city has tried state assistance programs and been unsuccessful, explain why (i.e. qualified, but the state program lacked funds, etc.)
  • Describe how the project is consistent with state policy objectives (i.e. stormwater, fulfilling a growth management requirement, economic development etc.)
  • Clarify how your project does not set a new state funding precedent.

Good luck.