Opinion

Pooling resources

Thumbs up to the Port of Kennewick and the Army Corps of Engineers for moving forward with a plan to stabilize Clover Island's eroding shoreline and improve fish habitat.

The port commission recently approved an agreement with the Corps to share the cost of putting together a plan to determine how to finish repairing the shoreline while adding to habitat and recreation.

The Corps will cover the first $100,000 of the feasibility plan. After that, the Corps and port will split planning costs in half.

Much of Clover Island is covered in concrete rubble, which is eroding or sloughing off into the river. In recent years, the port finished an 863-foot walkway along the Columbia River near the new lighthouse and plaza.

Officials believe they can restore about a half-mile of shoreline through the project and about an acre of shallow water habitat to mitigate the environmental damage caused when the Corps built levees in the area.

The work would benefit upper Columbia River spring chinook salmon, upper and mid-Columbia River steelhead and bull trout -- species either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

A study on the project should be finished in late 2015, and the Corps would probably ask for funding during the 2016 federal fiscal year, so work to finish the design can begin. Construction dollars would be needed upfront before construction could start.

The Corps could spend up to $5 million to cover 75 percent of the design and implementation costs, and the port would be responsible for the rest.

It's always gratifying to see a collaborative effort that brings more to the community than any of the partners could accomplish alone. Statewide fix needed

Thumbs down to Washington lawmakers for failing to devise a way to pay for maintenance on the state's transportation infrastructure.

The problem hit home recently when state highway officials temporarily closed a bridge that provides a prime connection to the town of Mabton.

The Highway 241 bridge was closed because engineers fear "a catastrophic failure" if weight restrictions aren't followed.

The 60-year-old bridge has been on the state's "structurally deficient" list for years without receiving the needed repairs, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.

Officials imposed a 14-ton weight limit in 2003, and have been waiting for money to replace it. In May, officials lowered that weight restriction to 3 tons after engineers found new cracks in the middle section.

Crews will begin work on the bridge next month and plan to reopen it before the end of summer, but the state can't continue to treat repairs to the transportation system like a game of whack-a-mole, dealing with each problem as it pops up.

It's imperative to find a permanent and adequate source of money to keep Washington rolling.

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