Yesterday’s I-5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River is a wakeup call. I am thankful that the lives of all involved in the collapse were spared.
The Legislature needs to invest in our roads and bridges to ensure that they are at least safe. We need to act boldly during the special session to bring down the costs of transportation planning and construction so that we can spend more of our existing tax dollars on basic maintenance and preservation.
Our state’s list of structurally deficient bridges is too long. I am very concerned about the condition of the Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge, which is deemed structurally deficient. While this bridge is prioritized for replacement, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) does not expect to complete its work on a new bridge until late 2015. Can we afford to wait that long?
We cannot discuss new transportation funding without changing the way we do business. The high cost of our transportation projects is proving harmful to the system itself. Peripheral expenses and excessive regulations are putting public safety at risk. You can review a recent WSDOT presentation on transportation cost drivers here.
The state Senate should act quickly on my bill, House Bill 1978, to streamline the project permitting process. Additional legislation is needed to bring down costs of environmental review, project management and engineering, mitigation, lawsuits and more. At a minimum, we need to fast-track the Puyallup River Bridge replacement and the replacement of every structurally deficient bridge in Washington.
State Representative Hans Zeiger
25th Legislative District
Olympia Office (January-April)
468 John L. O’Brien Building – P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
District Office (May-December)
101 South Meridian, Suite D
Puyallup, WA 98371