Topic: Washington state Department of Transportation
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September 19, 2013 at 4:36 PM
I am writing regarding the article on the Yarrow Point roundabout. [“Opponents to Yarrow Point roundabout getting nowhere,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 18.]The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) designed an overbuilt, unneeded roundabout at 92nd Avenue Northeast on Highway 520.
There is a big flaw in WSDOT’s designing and building process: the contract was set before the drawings were shown to the public. Even though public reaction was swift and overwhelming, and WSDOT agrees that a roundabout is not the only solution, the contractor can demand extra money for any change, without having to substantiate anything.
Three years later, construction of the roundabout still hasn’t started and WSDOT stonewalls the community.
Our state highway funds are not being spent efficiently, and community input is ignored. Under these circumstances, who will support their request for new funding?
Carl Stork, Yarrow Point
August 9, 2013 at 5:51 AM
Infrastructure not to blame for Skagit River bridge collapse
I am getting tired of people blaming the collapse of the Skagit River bridge on poor infrastructure maintenance. Times editorial page editor Kate Riley seemed to imply this in her recent commentary about the effectiveness of city vs. state and federal governments. [“Column: The economy’s future lies in cities, not the state or Congress,” Opinion, Aug. 4.]
I have seen several statements from the Washington State Department of Transportation that the bridge was old, but it was in pretty good condition and easily able to carry its design load.
The cause of the collapse was extremely inept driving by two truckers, one carrying an oversized load and another who passed the overloaded truck while they were on the bridge.
It is an indisputable fact that there is a huge backlog of bridge maintenance throughout the state and nation, but I think it is well documented that there is no need to distort the facts of the Skagit collision to emphasize this need.
Pete Beaupain, Auburn
July 12, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Department of Transportation’s publicity campaign is insulting
After receiving numerous updates on Bertha, the Washington Department of Transportation’s tunnel-digging machine, and reading an invitation to “Bertha’s bon-voyage ceremony,” I have to respond.
The tunneling machine is a thing, not a female. Perhaps you’re taking “boring” too literally, such that you have to anthropomorphize this digger and treat Seattle residents like a bunch of kids at a carnival, but really, you’ve gone too far.
Digging machines are intrinsically fascinating, and the project is quite a feat; do you really have to pour sugar all over this to make it palatable?
Whose idea was this ridiculous publicity ploy? As one of the taxpayers making this project possible, I also resent the department implying that it’s doing us a big favor — “sharing a tradition” — to give us a glimpse of the machine we are paying for.
If you want to talk about tradition, this city has a long, proud tradition of carrying out massive labor- and material-intensive projects without relying on cute names or photo ops, or needing a pat on the back every time it reaches a milestone.
Judy Moise, Seattle
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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