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Published on Friday, March 8, 2013

Public Works Board policy bill

HB 1484, originally introduced at the request of the Public Works Board, was amended and passed out of the House Capital Budget Committee. It currently sits in the Rules Committee and will need to pass out of the House by March 13 to remain alive.

Of particular interest to cities, the amended bill sets out a series of ranking criteria for the Public Works Board to use in ranking projects:

  • Whether the project is critical in nature and would affect the health and safety of many people.
  • The extent to which the project leverages non-state funds.
  • The extent to which the project is ready to proceed to construction.
  • Whether the project is located in an area of high unemployment, compared to the average state unemployment.
  • Whether the project promotes the sustainable use of resources and environmental quality.
  • Whether the project consolidates or regionalizes systems.
  • Whether the project encourages economic development through mixed-use and mixed income development consistent with chapter 36.70A RCW.
  • Whether the system is being well-managed in the present and for long-term sustainability.
  • Achieving equitable distribution of funds by geography and population.
  • The extent to which the project meets state policy objectives identified in this chapter.
  • Other criteria that the Board considers necessary to achieve the purposes of this chapter.

In addition, the bill specifies that:

  • The list of qualified public works projects submitted by the Board must be ranked.
  • The Board must document the numerical ranking assigned to each project on the recommended funding list and to each eligible project not on the recommended funding list.
  • The maximum funding amount that can be recommended per project is $10 million.
  • A local government must demonstrate financial capacity to repay a loan, as a threshold requirement.
  • The Board must report biennially on its use of the priority policy objectives to guide its investments and on the outcomes produced.
  • The Board is not authorized to approve nontraditional public works system projects, or to assess infrastructure needs and resources every four years.
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