PACIFIC COUNTY - As the Washington Legislature continues to enthusiastically wrestle with a multi-billion dollar budget gap, lawmakers are pulling the plug on some long-term infrastructure investments, while leaving others intact.
The single largest of these capital-expense items is $4.4 million for the new historical parkway at Lewis and Clark's Station Camp east of Chinook. These funds for the Washington State Historical Society still appear safe.
However, another large expenditure is on the chopping block, as the state Senate is set to cut $2 million to acquire 10.5 acres and 870 linear feet of oceanfront property in Seaview from developer Matt Doney. On the other hand, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird has included $2 million for that purpose on his list of proposed budget earmarks in the current congressional term, and the state House includes $2 million on its alternate-funding list.
It is unclear whether either the state or the feds would find anyone upon whom to bestow $2 million, as the property in question is in foreclosure and may be tied up in other legal proceedings as well.
The Senate budget cuts out entirely $2.5 million to buy 166 acres next to Loomis Lake State Park, while the House preserves about $2.4 million of the request, assuming the state has a total of $70 million available.
The Senate also axes about $900,000 for additional natural areas around the Bone River and Niawiakum Rivers. The House will leave about $60,000 for that project, if there is $80 million available in total.
The House leaves $40,500 in the budget for Silverspot Butterfly Enhancement on the Peninsula, while the Senate cuts it.
Both proposals include previously committed totals of $350,000 for Chinook School restoration and $41,000 for collections storage space for Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.
Washington State Parks could eventually see $2.9 million for Cape Disappointment State Park: Infrastructure Improvements Phase 2, $1.6 million for Cape D trail work, and $2.5 million to acquire Eagle's Nest Resort. None of this may materialize in these difficult times.