New online map provides transparency in capital, transportation spending
“Show me the money!” Residents across Washington can now see exactly where their tax dollars are being spent on capital and transportation projects. A new online map launched today by the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee (LEAP) can now be viewed by the public at: http://fiscal.wa.gov/WebMaps.aspx. The user-friendly map displays project spending by legislative district and county.Legislation signed into law last year to provide more transparency in the state’s spending activities was sponsored by Rep. Brad Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee, and Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane (pictured together at right).“Transparency is essential to an effective government and should be a bipartisan effort,” said Hawkins. “I am very excited to see this legislation implemented and for people to have more access to information about their government.”The map allows constituents to choose their county or legislative district to see projects in their community, or to simply click on the statewide map to see details of capital and transportation projects, like the state agency overseeing the project, the description of the project and the budgeted amount.“The transportation and capital budgets are what build our roads, schools and community projects, and now there is a simple way for Washingtonians to see where their money is going,” said Riccelli. “I’m proud of the work that Rep. Hawkins and I have done and look forward to continuing to improve the transparency of our state government.”The two legislators are teaming up again in this year’s session to expand the map further. House Bill 2104 would provide a link to the state contract associated with each of the state’s capital and transportation projects.“This is just another step in providing more transparency for the public. Taxpayers should be able to find out more about the business the state is doing on their behalf,” said Hawkins.If this year’s legislation is passed, the expanded map would be available to the public by January 2015.“I’ve been impressed with the work of LEAP to get this information loaded into a user-friendly map,” said Riccelli. “Adding the state contracts will further serve the public by providing information about not only where, but how, the state’s resources are being spent.”The 2014 session begins Jan. 13 and is scheduled to run 60 days.For more information about Rep. Hawkins, visit: www.representativebradhawkins.com. For information about Rep. Riccelli, visit: www.housedemocrats.wa.gov/roster/rep-marcus-riccelli/.