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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Capital Construction Budget Includes $130M In Lawmaker-Requested Projects

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network

Before they left town, Washington lawmakers approved a nearly $4 billion capital construction budget. That includes $130 million in member-requested projects – what you might call pork.
These are the "bring home the bacon" projects.

It’s a long list, from $500,000 for the Algona Senior Center to $1 million for a youth wellness gym renovation in Bremerton. In between you can find spending in virtually every legislative district across the state for everything from an all-accessible playground to an elevator in a senior center to a rowing club boathouse. 

Some of the bigger ticket items include $7 million for a cancer facility and $5 million for a community park in south King County .

These member request projects represent just a fraction of the overall capital budget. But most of the money to fund them is borrowed, and then paid off over 25 years, so the actual cost is more than what’s advertised.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."