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Published on Friday, April 12, 2013

Stormwater funding provided in both House and Senate Budgets

Regular readers will recall that providing a permanent and stable stormwater funding program and enhancing the state’s investments on this front has been a priority of AWC this session. We were excited to see that both the Senate and House capital budgets propose to create this new program and to provide substantial funding to get it started.

The Senate proposes $75 million in stormwater funding, with $46 million for a new competitive grant program and $29 million for specific stormwater projects. The House is proposing a $100 million investment, with $96 million for a competitive program and the balance for specific projects.

Both budgets also include very similar language around the creation of a permanent competitive grant program that would be integrated into Ecology’s water quality funding process. One exciting part of this program is that a wide variety of stormwater funding proposals can be considered, from green infrastructure to traditional infrastructure to permit implementation or research and development.

Rather than funding one particular approach like Low Impact Development, as past budgets have done, this grant program will rate and rank a variety of eligible proposals on water quality benefit and cost effectiveness.

Additionally, both House and Senate proposals fully fund the Low Impact Development training program for local officials, staff, and the private sector to get all parties ready to implement the new stormwater permits.

We are very appreciative of the recognition in both budgets of the importance of state assistance to local governments for managing stormwater to improve water quality.