Local projects get boost in state budget

A state veterans home landed more than $14 million in the capital budget approved Wednesday.


WALLA WALLA -- A nursing home for veterans, education centers and a rail portal in Walla Walla County all came out winners in the state budget approved Wednesday.

Five projects in the county were among those slated for funds from a $1 billion capital budget package approved by lawmakers. The measure was among those passed as lawmakers wound up a 22-hour marathon of negotiations and votes.

The proposed Walla Walla State Veterans Home will receive $14.4 million, according to information provided by state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place.

The money will provide matching funds for the project, which is to be built at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Remaining funds for the skilled nursing facility would come from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. When completed, the facility is expected to provide 93 permanent jobs.

Another major project, the Southeast Area Technical Skills Center at Walla Walla Community College, will receive $10.35 million. Built on land off Isaacs Avenue, the center will be a branch campus of the Tri-Tech Skills Center of the Kennewick School District and serve Walla Walla public high school students.

A project to expand the infrastructure of the Railex facility near Burbank will receive $2.75 million. Another education project in Walla Walla, an alternative energy training and innovation center, is in line to receive $3.67 million.

The city of Walla Walla will also gain $290,000 for its 13th Avenue stormwater improvement project.

"We were very fortunate in the capital budget," said state Rep. Terry Nealey. "We felt very good about what we were able to get out of the budget."

The Seattle Times contributed to this report. Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Projects Funded

1. Walla Walla State Veterans Home -- $14.4 million

2. Southeast Area Technical Skills Center -- $10.35 million

3. Alternative Energy training and innovation center -- $3.67 million

4. Railex warehouse infrastructure -- $2.75 million

5. City of Walla Walla 13th Avenue stormwater project -- $290,000


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