Topic: Washington state Department of Transportation
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March 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Paanen hire is a mistake
This is a tragic Washington State Department of Transportation and Gov. Jay Inslee mistake. Hiring Ron Paananen to study 520 bridge, which he was in charge of a few years ago before moving to be in charge of the viaduct replacement, is like hiring the fox to guard the hen house [“Ex-DOT administrator tapped to study bridge, tunnel projects,” NW Friday, March 15].
How unfair to the citizen taxpayers and now toll payers and our environment.
–Jean Amick, Seattle
Reasonable deadlines are important, ensure safety
The recently departed secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation should be ashamed of herself. The buck used to stop at the top person responsible for an agency, or a corporation. Instead, on her way out the door, she took the time to blame the hardworking bridge engineers working on the 520 pontoon project.
Some are saying that a number of the engineers she blamed refused to sign off on the design plans and that they were not allowed adequate time to complete them. However, it appears she has succeeded in making them the scapegoats.
Why didn’t the legislators understand good engineering plans need reasonable dates for completion? Obviously, she was unable to fulfill her responsibility to explain to the legislators — if they want WSDOT to adopt a “Rush the Date” philosophy then the old axiom “haste makes waste” will manifest.
The whole affair is a shame — here’s hoping the next secretary will take more care in educating those legislators (who are not engineers) that reasonable project timelines are important, and rush dates are not only not safe, but very costly.
–Debbie Romaine, Roy
March 2, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Privatized construction might have prevented this
If there was ever a good example of why more state government work should be outsourced and privatized, it’s the millions of dollars the state will cost us for having done their own defective engineering in the design of the 520 bridge [“State admits costly mistakes on 520 bridge,” page one, Feb. 27].
In the private sector of the construction industry, if you make a mistake, you assume the consequences and pay for it. This causes private-sector contractors to be very careful in making their proposals and could have avoided this taxpayer bailout of governmental error.
–Bob Dorse, Seattle
February 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Income tax should be prioritized
Please give us a state income tax [“Gas, car-tab taxes drive Dems’ plan,” page one, Feb. 21]. We are already the state with the most regressive tax structure — that is the poor and working class are paying too much of the tax bill. Adding to the gas tax is only going to make that worse.
We need a state income tax to make the rich pay their fair share — and decrease the tax burden on the poor and working class. I’d suggest starting a state income tax at 1 percent of income over $50,000 per year, 2 percent on income over $100,000 and 3 percent on income over $150,000 — and then reduce the sales tax from 8 percent to 7 percent for starters. Let the staff work out the details. Then Gov. Jay Inslee can maintain his pledge not to raise taxes — on the majority of Washingtonians!
–David L. Dittemore, Tacoma
February 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Transportation should be holistic, funded by all
Paula Hammond, Washington state secretary of transportation and poster person for the Peter Principle, is stepping down in March [“Inslee names Oregonian as new head of transportation,” NWWednesday, Feb. 20]. Newly elected Gov. Jay Inslee is naming her replacement.
Let’s hope the new secretary reverses course on Hammond’s completely misguided and disastrous philosophy of Balkanizing the transportation system by instituting localized tolls that attempt to force people not to use certain roadways, bridges and ferries when and where they choose. That’s not the way people live.
We need one well-funded, holistic system paid for one way by all. We need one holistic system that gets people where they want to go when they want to go. I don’t use your highway or bridge. You don’t use my ferry. So what? Pooling resources to serve everyone; that’s the way a functional society works.
–Bill Viertel, Coupeville
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