State Budget is Largest Investment Ever for Climate Action

April 24, 2023

Two years ago to this day, the Washington State Senate concurred with the House of Representatives to approve the Climate Commitment Act, our cap-and-invest program.

Now our state is reaping the benefits of this policy with the approval over the weekend of an historic biennial budget. This budget makes the largest investment in Washington state history to reduce carbon emissions, improve local air quality and accelerate our transition to a clean energy future.

Clean & Prosperous gathered stakeholders at Ballard’s Town & Country Market in front of two fully-electric commercial vehicles to celebrate this milestone achievement. 

Addressing the crowd, House Transportation Chairman Jake Fey said, “The Climate Commitment Act has given us the resources to make critical investments to address climate change. We have taken money raised from carbon emissions and invested it in every community across the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.”

“We congratulate our state legislature for passing this historic budget–the largest climate investment in Washington state history,” said Clean & Prosperous Washington’s Executive Director, Michael Mann. “This is an investment in our future and unlocks access to cleaner, healthier and more robust technology that will ultimately reduce energy and transportation costs.”

Using over $2 billion raised from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) allowance auctions, the legislature invested in a range of decarbonization programs, including two new programs that Clean & Prosperous Washington advocated for and helped to shape.

Of the $970 million of CCA funds allocated to the state transportation budget, $120 million was directed to a new medium and heavy duty zero-emission vehicle purchase and infrastructure incentive program. Clean & Prosperous Washington launched its MHD/Zero Emission Vehicles Working Group last summer and helped to create this new program.  

The new medium and heavy-duty program will help create union jobs in Renton.  

“Most of the zero emission trucks Kenworth builds in Renton are purchased by customers with access to clean energy incentives,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. “Access to new incentives in Washington state will help our local customers adopt zero emission technology now.”

Clean & Prosperous Washington also worked closely with the Washington Dairy Association to create a methane capture program. During a study mission to California we learned that one of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction initiatives is their program to capture methane emissions from dairies and turn that potent greenhouse gas into usable energy. 

Of the $445 million of CCA funds allocated to the operating budget, $30 million was directed to the Farms and Fields program to help eliminate methane emissions. 

“We saw how effective this program has been in California,” said Jay Gordon, policy director of the Washington Dairy Association. “This new investment in the Sustainable Farms and Fields program will reduce emissions while increasing revenues for our state’s dairies.”

Key decarbonization elements in the state transportation, capital, and operating budgets include:

  • MHD zero emission vehicle purchase and infrastructure incentives:  $120 million
  • Zero emissions transit buses and equipment:  $51.4 million
  • Electric ferries:  $88 million
  • Zero-emission drayage demonstration (Northwest Seaport Alliance):  $6.3 million
  • Cargo handling and other off-road ZEV equipment:  $7.5 million
  • EV charging and hydrogen fueling stations:  $207 million
  • Shore power and port electrification:  $43 million
  • Dairy digester grant program:  $22 million
  • Solar and battery storage funding for community and low-income communities:  $113 million
  • Dual use solar projects and large scale solar projects:  $49 million
  • Incentives for EV purchases for low-income and overburdened communities:  $50 million
  • Home Electrification and Appliance Rebate (HEAR) Program:  $163 million
  • Reducing emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors:  $20 million

Review highlights of the clean economy investments HERE.

With these CCA-powered investments, our state is accelerating progress on building a strong, healthy economy for all Washington businesses and communities across the state. As former state senator Reuven Carlyle put it so well in his recent Seattle Times op-ed:

Sergey Tikhomirov / Getty Images

This Earth Day, defeat pessimism with action and optimism

“Our entrepreneurial history of building transformational solutions — aviation, mobile, software, cloud computing, coffee, global retail and philanthropy — provides a thrilling road map for the next generation of climate innovation.   

We can be optimistic because building a modern economy based on a core principle of sustainability is the most accelerated economic opportunity in history.”

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
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