By Mike Baker Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Lawmakers have approved a $3.6 billion capital budget that includes money for water management, schools, prisons and one of the largest land purchases in state history.
Budget writers in both parties said Saturday they believe the plan will help create 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. The most prominent item in the package is the start of a long-term effort to help manage water in the Yakima River Basin. That is a plan that stakeholders have been consider for years and is eventually projected to cost up to $5 billion in the coming decades.
The land purchase is for about 50,000 acres in upper Kittitas County and is valued at about $100 million. Republican Rep. Judy says the land is at the headwaters of the Yakima River Basin and was the perfect opportunity to begin working on water issues in the region.