Final budgets reflect a strong commitment to climate investments
The gavel dropped in Olympia to close the short 2022 legislative session. For those of us committed to a clean and prosperous future, there is good news to celebrate:
Final budgets reflect a strong commitment to climate investments.
Under the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), the performance of investments will influence costs and savings for manufacturers and consumers, as well as the state’s success at meeting ambitious climate targets. That’s why we kept the spotlight on squeezing maximum climate bang from our carbon bucks this session.
We’re pleased that transportation and operating budget writers took charge to make historic investments in transportation decarbonization. Reviewing the final budgets adopted last week, we identified over $2 billion in new commitments to programs and projects with a direct and measurable contribution to our state’s climate goals. The funding includes several key strategies from our report Washington’s Decisive Decade: An Emerging Roadmap for Transportation Decarbonization and Cleaner Air.
On the plan to build four new hybrid electric ferries and two retrofits:
- “Thanks to the great leadership and vision of the legislature, this critical package will support thousands of jobs and lead to associated economic benefits in many communities. We particularly look forward to seeing the important investments made in maintaining, growing and electrifying our state’s ferry fleet.” – Jill Mackie, Senior Vice President, Vigor
On $69 million in FY23 for EV Charging and $2 million for a Shore Power Project at the Port of Seattle:
- “Our analysis of various prospective interventions indicates that investments in vehicle electrification and charging infrastructure are among the most cost-effective and scalable approaches to reduce pollution from our largest emissions sector: transportation. If deployed strategically, the local health impacts can be immense. It’s exciting to see growth in funds being directed that way. I would like to see continued emphasis in that direction to accelerate the shift to cleaner movement of people and goods.” — Kevin Tempest, Research & Development Scientist, Clean & Prosperous Institute
On over $500 million to state & local decarbonization projects, $300 million to Green Transit Grants and $120 million to electric vehicle incentives ($25 million deployable this year):
- “The Climate Commitment Act is providing unprecedented resources to build the clean energy economy. Using these funds to eliminate carbon from our transportation system is one of our state’s paths to a net-zero carbon economy.” – Michael Mann, Executive Director, Clean & Prosperous Institute
It’s important to note that substantial funding for carbon reduction is coming from the operating budget, which can complement the use of CCA funds, but could be less durable, more sensitive to swings in the economy, and compete with other priorities.
In the long term, we will continue to focus on getting more climate ROI from the nearly ¾ of CCA revenue that is appropriated in Move Ahead Washington.
The CCA starts early next year and having incentives and programs like those funded this year is critical to launching a successful program.
Please join us in expressing our thanks to Transportation Committee Chairs Senator Marko Liias and Representative Jake Fey, Ways and Means Chair Senator Christine Rolfes, and Appropriations Chair Representative Tim Ormsby, as well as Governor Jay Inslee for fighting for these priorities. While the budgets themselves were advanced on a party-line-vote, several of the policy bills supporting these appropriations did receive bipartisan support, including bills concerning hydrogen, biochar, and clean manufacturing facility siting. We appreciate the efforts of Environment Committee Chairs Senator Reuven Carlyle and Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, and Ranking Members Senator Shelly Short and Representative Mary Dye to demonstrate bipartisan support for climate action.
Work remains to be done across all investments directed through the Climate Commitment Act, ensuring that these cost-effectively deliver on the aims of emissions reduction and environmental justice. We will continue to work collaboratively and use the best available data to guide our state towards meeting its climate commitments.