It’s time we double down on our effort to get an I-5 Columbia River bridge funding agreement in place right now. 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.
Over the past decade, companies like Alcoa and Del Monte have already pulled up stakes. 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 work force 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 10-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?
Pogo was right: we have met the enemy and they are us. We need to support efforts to build a bridge now.