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Published on Friday, January 9, 2015

What happened to the Public Works Trust Fund in the Governor’s budget?

When Governor Inslee released his budget we noticed that it only allocated about$70 million for Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) construction loans, while the Public Works Board had recommended funding about $170 million in projects. Since the Governor’s budget didn’t sweep any of the funds into the general fund it wasn’t clear where the money went. Now we have the answer. In summary, some of the funds were redirected to other programs, but the biggest difference is that the Governor’s office chose not use “acceleration”, a cash-flow management strategy that seeks to maximize the amount of loans going out based on projections of revenue coming in. See below for specific details.

Gov. Inslee’s operating and capital budgets appropriate $110.1 million from the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA) based on the actual 2015-17 fund balance for the following:

  • $69.7 million in the capital budget for the construction loan list (with most projects eligible to apply the federal accounts removed from the list).
  • $2.8 million for local infrastructure projects in communities affected by recent disasters (Riverside, Twisp, Brewster, and Pateros).
  • $6.4 million for grants and technical assistance provided to local jurisdictions to update comprehensive growth management plans (NOT historically funded from PWTF resources).
  • $7.6 million for the Voluntary Stewardship Program administered by the State Conservation Commission (NOT historically funded by PWTF resources).
  • $2.8 million for the PWAA administration.
  • $8.8 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund match (historically funded from PWTF resources).
  • $12 million for the Water Pollution Control State Revolving Fund match (historically funded from PWTF resources).

The additional $89.9 million requested by the Department of Commerce is based on accelerated loan modeling instead of actual fund balance.