Financing Capital Projects
When the state sells bonds to finance a project — a bridge, a university laboratory, or water treatment plant — we are committing the taxpayers for the 20 to 30 years of payments.
The manner in which these projects are financed can have important impacts on how the facility functions and each one of these commitments limits what we can spend on other priorities. In many ways financing is an environmental statement.
In the case of major highway projects such as the proposed Columbia River Crossing in Southwest Washington or the 520 bridge in Seattle, the interest rates we pay can add or save hundreds of millions of dollars to the project.
And in the case of virtually all major transportation projects, tolls have become an essential financing element. If done properly, tolling can reduce congestion, encourage car pooling and other mass transit and leave strong incentive for bike commuting.
As treasurer I have established principles for tolling and worked with the legislature to apply these guideline transportation financing measures. As of the end of the 2009 Legislative session four of the five principles have been incorporated into transportation financing plans.
Given the global nature of climate change, climate risk has become embedded, to a greater or lesser extent, in every business and investment portfolio. The Office of the State Treasurer has made addressing climate risk as it associates with state investments a top priority.
Severe weather events and changing weather patterns, current or impending regulations imposing a cost on carbon, and an altered competitive environment will have an inescapable impact on businesses. Climate change is increasingly being seen as a strategic issue. The Office of the State Treasurer has joined forces with other progressive state treasurers and leading companies to take action now to mitigate the risks and take advantage of the opportunities arising from climate change as a way to ensure a position for themselves in the emerging low-carbon global economy.