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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

I-5 Columbia River bridge faltering

Time is of the essence

The I-5 bridge over the Columbia River is the site of major congestion. A $3.4 billion project to replace it  and add lightrail service died in June when the Washington state Senate opted not to take up consideration of a transportation funding project. [Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times]

The I-5 bridge over the Columbia River is the site of major congestion. A $3.4 billion project to replace it and add lightrail service died in June when the Washington state Senate opted not to take up consideration of a transportation funding project. [Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times]

It’s time we “double down” on our effort to get an I-5 Columbia River bridge funding agreement in place right now. [“Oregon looks at building span across Columbia on its own,” NW Sunday, Sept. 8.]

If we can’t get a Coast Guard bridge permit this fall, as well as negotiate a working agreement between our two states and the federal government to salvage this bridge in some form, an economic death spiral for this region is assured.

Local high-tech companies, as well as outside companies looking to locate here, watch in disbelief as we purposefully neglect the needs of our decaying local transportation infrastructure.

As commuter wait-times and product delivery schedules lengthen, local companies will have to seek more favorable locations for their operations. Our skilled local workforce will follow the work, as good family-wage jobs disappear from southwest Washington.

That we need a new bridge is obvious, but who believes we could really start over with another ten-year planning and permitting process?

Public projects in other states are already in line to take our earmarked federal funding. After another decade of funding projects in other states, what will be left? We need to support efforts to build a bridge now.

Edward Barnes, Vancouver

Comments | More in Economy, Transportation | Topics: bridge, Columbia River, economy

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