When it comes to transportation, bad news headlines have dominated the media recently: What’s stopping the Bertha tunneling machine? Why did the 520 bridge design mistakes occur? Will we ever get a new transportation revenue package from the Legislature?
But here’s some good news: The Legislature has an opportunity to help the families of Department of Transportation employees.
The WSDOT Memorial Foundation (WMF) is promoting companion bills Senate Bill 6370 and House Bill 2587, which would waive tuition to state colleges and universities for qualifying children of fallen highway workers. The bills are modeled after a successful Washington State Patrol program for tuition assistance.
WMF President Bill Ford, a former state trooper and retired WSDOT executive, says the bills would send a positive message to families who have lost a loved one, as well as their main bread-winner.
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WMF provides financial assistance to employees who are hurt in the line of duty and to their survivors in the tragic event of a workplace fatality. There have been 59 WSDOT worker deaths since 1950.
Transportation and utility workers have jobs that can place them in jeopardy, and tragically, some are injured and even killed performing their duty. The Legislature can recognize that service with tuition waivers for surviving children.