Unhappy with lack of transportation bill

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 2, 2014 

We just passed the one year anniversary of the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge. We should have learned from the disaster, but the lesson wasn't comprehended by local politicians. Senate leadership, including Republican Doug Ericksen, failed again to pass the important transportation package. That means the Highway 520 bridge connector between Bellevue and Seattle and the north-south connector in Spokane have no funding. That's bad for commerce! It bogs down the movement of goods and services. How are people going to get to work?

Washington State was given a C- in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 infrastructure report card for state's bridges. More than a quarter of Washington's 7,840 bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. I've seen photos of rusted beams on the I-5 Stillaguamish River bridge. Parts of it are 80 years old. Southbound lanes are being repaired, but our state's Highway Trust Fund will be exhausted this summer.

Does that mean we'll have trouble getting home next year on northbound lanes and infrastructure like the I-5 Skagit Valley bridge will not get the attention it needs? Remember how bad the traffic was when that went down. Broken bridges create huge problems like getting to the airport or shipping our Whatcom County products like milk and raspberries. Come on Sen. Ericksen, don't hold back business.

Paul Orlowski

Bellingham

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