It wasn’t a great year to request money in the Pacific Northwest. Well, except for Alaska, that is.
Measures and initiatives in Washington and Oregon for energy efficiency upgrades in schools and upgrades to an aging bus fleet and infrastructure were both turned down, respectively.
But it was mostly a resounding “Yes” in Alaska for a bonding proposition for library, education and educational research facilities. Bonding Proposition B won in Alaska with 60 percent of the vote. The proposition sends $397.2 million toward the building industry for design and construction of the facilities.
Pre-election reports had the bond creating as many as 930 construction jobs for three years.
In Oregon, Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas county voters rejected a property-tax measure that would have sent $125 million to TriMet, the region’s transit authority, to help replace aging buses and run-down bus stops.
The measure failed 54 percent to 46 percent, with support found mostly in and around Portland.
Not only did Washington voters reject a referendum to fund energy efficiency upgrades in schools, but it also turned down a state initiative that would have ended the state’s monopoly on workers’ compensation insurance.
Initiative 1082 asked voters to allow employers to purchase private industrial insurance, but it was rejected solidly, with 58 percent of voters saying “No.” The Building Industry Association of Washington definitely lost out to the state Department of Labor and Industries, the group that oversees the current workers’ compensation program, in the campaign process.
In a green-happy state, the failure of Referendum Bill 52 (schools’ energy upgrades) came closer to passing, but still failed with 57 percent of the vote rejecting the authorization of $505 million in bonds to finance construction and repair projects.
The narrow scope of the upgrades—to earn the money competitive grants would have been weighted heavily on the project’s energy savings—likely hurt the effort instead of helping it.