Given the train wrecks these past few months including five crude oil trains and the Amtrak tragedy in Philadelphia, I am concerned that the Congress and our legislature continue to reject funding our vital transportation infrastructure of railways, highways and bridges. Last year our legislature killed a transportation bill that would have upgraded the 98-year-old I-5 Bridge over the Columbia, one of the least efficient in the U.S. that was built for Model Ts and horses. We’ve seen the bridge over the Skagit River go down. An additional 136 bridges in our state alone are “structurally deficient” as are nearly 70,000 nationwide. As I write this, the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut Amtrak’s budget by 20 percent while they fuss over other infrastructure funding. Our local state Sen. Erickson recently voted against a statewide transportation package. The Republicans claim to be pro-business and, clearly, efficient transportation facilitates moving product to market and boosts the economy. As goes our transportation, so goes our ability to travel safely and to transact commerce. The huge number of jobs that such projects would generate is an added bonus.
Where is the party of President Eisenhower who had the vision and the courage to develop the intestate system that we are now letting crumble?