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Interstate 5 Bridge Collapse in Washington State

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    KIRO TV: I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapses; people, vehicles in water

    "The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon collapsed Thursday evening, dumping vehicles and people into the water shortly after 7 p.m.

    "At least one person was pulled from the water, but State Patrol Trooper Mark Francis said it was not clear how many were in the water or the extent the injuries."


    The reports are just coming in, but this is reminiscent of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. The bridge was built in 1955 and was reported to carry 70,000 vehicles daily.

    The Obama administration has been asking for funds to improve our infrastructure but Republicans keep blocking the funding. Maybe now they'll understand.
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    That would require them coming to the conclusion that wealthy people need the infrastructure too. And that may be too much for them.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    GemsWoven Wrote: That would require them coming to the conclusion that wealthy people need the infrastructure too. And that may be too much for them.
    Typical the good old USA; spent only money on our favorite war toys instead of infrastructure; just keep the blinders on!!!
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Don't worry Dutch, at least we have plenty of F-35's to help provide security at the crash site!

    Actually the bridge that collapsed was old and needed to be replaced but that's not what caused it to fall. It was hit by a truck carrying an "oversized load" so if there had been a brand new bridge there, the hit by the truck may have caused it to fall, also. If not for the hit by the truck maybe this old bridge would have stood for another year, or decade, or longer, we'll never know.

    I have heard it reported that the state of Washington diverted $800 million in stimulus funds to "high speed rail". Diverted from what? From the "bridge replacement" fund? Don't know.

    One thing I do know: we haven't heard the last of this and if it is true that 800 Million were diverted from somewhere to somewhere else then the finger pointing has just begun.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I wonder how many bridges could be fixed with the cost of just one F-35, or perhaps a couple of tanks that the Army says it doesn't need.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Take a look at this cost of war website.

    Cost of War

    $1.4 trillion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. That would build a lot of bridges.

    I read that in 2011, the cost of our war in Afghanistan alone was running $300 million PER DAY.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Unforunitly the powers in Washington on both sides of the aisle would only divert the funds from any budget cuts from the Defense Dept to some other pet project that they have in mind,and the least of them is road infrastructure repair/replacement. They will never move that sum of money in its entirity to the highway problems unless it was specificly designated, and that is not going to happen,unless some other pet project is approved first.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    While this bridge was considered "functionally obsolete" it had a sufficiency rating of 57.4 out of 100. That is well below the statewide average rating of 80. According to ThinkProgress, there are 759 bridges in the state that have a lower sufficiency rating than the one that fell apart.

    "More than 350 bridges in Washington are considered structurally deficient, meaning they require repair or replacement of a component, although are not necessarily considered in danger of collapse. More than 1,500 are considered functionally obsolete.

    "The average age for the nation’s bridges is 42 years. This netted the country a C+ rating on its bridges, which is mediocre. To upgrade all of the deficient ones, the U.S. would need to invest $20.5 billion annually.

    "Yet only $12.8 billion is being spent on bridge updates currently. The country’s infrastructure only got a total grade of D+, a poor rating. Overall, the country needs to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020 to bring it into the 21st century."


    I just don't see any concern by Republicans to do anything about the problem. And now with low interest rates and skilled construction workers in need of unemployment, they continue to block the additional funding needed. That's stupid.

    I wonder if we had a Republican President if the funds wouldn't be approved in a heartbeat. This is all about "hating Obama."
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I still think it is a combination of both sides of the aisle not coming up with a budget inclusive of the infrastructure of highway system, the Senate has a majority of Democrats and the Republicans control the House, these bridges and highways needed repairs when the democrats controled the entire Congress for the first two years of President Obama's first term., but the Democrats then, had another agenda and they were pretty much single minded about it, so considering that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid had not even proposed a budget for almost 5 years,its no wonder the country's highway system is falling apart, so its not just a Republican obstructionist stance that causes all the ills of the country ,granted it doesn't help either, but the blame should be spread around to all of Congressmen and women regardlessof their political party.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    johnnycee Wrote: I still think it is a combination of both sides of the aisle not coming up with a budget inclusive of the infrastructure of highway system, the Senate has a majority of Democrats and the Republicans control the House, these bridges and highways needed repairs when the democrats controled the entire Congress for the first two years of President Obama's first term., but the Democrats then, had another agenda and they were pretty much single minded about it, so considering that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid had not even proposed a budget for almost 5 years,its no wonder the country's highway system is falling apart, so its not just a Republican obstructionist stance that causes all the ills of the country ,granted it doesn't help either, but the blame should be spread around to all of Congressmen and women regardlessof their political party.
    Johnnycee - When President Obama took office, he managed to get approval of $27.5 billion in funds for highways and bridges including repair as a part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Those funds, like all the other stimulus projects in the bill, were not easy to come by. After those funds were expended, the appropriations declined year after year as the Republican "austerity" program became a part of every day life in Washington. Ted Kennedy died on August 9, 2009 and thereafter the Democrats lost their veto proof majority in the Senate. You know that story...an unprecedented number of filibusters on everything President Obama wanted to do.

    President Obama has been upfront about the need for more infrastructure spending including highways and bridges...again and again and again. He has been pleading for it year after year after year...and the Republicans keep saying no...no...no. The proposed funding has been a part of Obama's annual budget proposals in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and now again in 2013. Congress has not approved any of those budgets, so instead we are left with Continuing Resolutions...not a way to fund the government unless your goal is to "shrink government to the size where it can drown in a bathtub." That is the Grover Norquist quote that Republicans seem to be following.

    I disagree that the blame should be spread around. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    You are entitled to your opinion and I believe otherwise, since the Democrat Senate, which was in the majority at the time and for the next session as well, had voted down by every Democratic Senator that would be 50 to 0, the Budget proposals submitted by President Obama and the subsquent proposals up to this year, in the first two years of his presidency ,he,the President did have a veto proof Congress, because his party controlled both houses in Congress,after that Congress squandered their chances to really govern, their ineptness allowed the GOP to pick them off in 2010, so it was the fault of both Parties that the so-called Stimulas package did fullfill its intended goals, this was because of petty bickering both in and outside the Party, maybe now they will both learn,I doubt it but we shall see.
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    johnnycee Wrote: You are entitled to your opinion and I believe otherwise, since the Democrat Senate, which was in the majority at the time and for the next session as well, had voted down by every Democratic Senator that would be 50 to 0, the Budget proposals submitted by President Obama and the subsquent proposals up to this year, in the first two years of his presidency ,he,the President did have a veto proof Congress, because his party controlled both houses in Congress,after that Congress squandered their chances to really govern, their ineptness allowed the GOP to pick them off in 2010, so it was the fault of both Parties that the so-called Stimulas package did fullfill its intended goals, this was because of petty bickering both in and outside the Party, maybe now they will both learn,I doubt it but we shall see.
    Only FauxNews would say that. Those of us who live outside of the bubble saw the racism spewed by the TeaParty bringing every nut out for the off election. And those same nuts thought they were going to win 2012 by a wide margin. Didn't happen though.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I don't know faux news, but if you check the congressional records for those time periods, you will see that the Democratic Senate voted 50-0 twice on President Obama 's budget proposal's during his first two years in office and has since failed to pass his budget proposals.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    What we actually need as a country is an INCREASE in the federal excise tax on gasoline so that we could afford to spend more money on infrastructure repairs ..

    by some miracle, the current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon actually got renewed after if expired on 9/30/2011, but the chances of an actual increase in that amount isn't likely at all, particularly since we are now embarking on the foolhardy seqester plan ..

    you may remember that both "the queen of crazy" (Michelle Bachmann and "the king of crazy" (Newt Gingrich) both promised gasoline at $2 per gallon when they were running for President ...

    a few of my ideas on THAT topic are included at the link below, which also includes a clip about the I-35 bridge in Minnesota:

    http://tohell-andback.blogspot.com/2011/08/gas-at-299-gallon.html

    In addition to the Federal excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon (24.4 cents a gallon for diesel) states also add taxes of their own. Oddly enough, the State of Washington has the 7th highest state tax for gasoline in the country, which (theoretically) means that they should have more money to spend on infrastructure repair than most states.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States

    Arguably, the collision with the truck may have hastened the replacement of the bridge in Washington, but it was overdue for replacement as it was.

    The recent I-5 bridge, of course, isn't the first bridge disaster in Washington State. The most famous of the earlier failures is the fall of "Galloping Gertie", the former Tacoma Narrows bridge which collapsed 4 months after it opened in 1940. The replacement bridge opened in 1950, which makes it 5 years older than the I-5 bridge that just collapsed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge

    the 1940 film clip of the collapse of ""Galloping" Gertie" is interesting to watch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xox9BVSu7Ok
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    johnnycee Wrote: I don't know faux news, but if you check the congressional records for those time periods, you will see that the Democratic Senate voted 50-0 twice on President Obama 's budget proposal's during his first two years in office and has since failed to pass his budget proposals.
    Johnnycee --

    The topic is funding for highways and bridges, and we seem to be sidetracked on the budget process. I assume you know the basics, but let me briefly outline the process in case there is some confusion.

    1. By law the President submits to Congress his annual Budget request in February.

    2. The House and Senate Budget Committees use the President's budget as a framework and then modify/expand/reduce the various provisions. Once agreement is reached in committee their respective Budget Resolutions are submitted to the House and Senate floors where they can be further amended before being voted upon.

    3. Differences between the House and Senate Congressional resolutions are resolved in a House-Senate conference, and it is this conference report that is passed by both houses.

    4. The budget resolution is a "concurrent" congressional resolution, and therefore does not go to the President for his signature or veto.

    Okay there are a lot of other rules and procedures to follow when disagreement cannot be reached. I won't get into those now. But I will make the point that is normal practice to NEVER formally vote on the President's budget request. The President's budget only serves as the framework for the building of the Congressional Budget Resolution.

    Republicans, however, broke with practice by submitting the President's budget request for a vote, knowing full well that it had been superseded by the respective Congressional resolutions. It was a political theater and had no real meaning so naturally it was voted down unanimously. It would be like submitting a first draft of a report to a vote for approval when a committee is working on the 5th and final draft of a report. It's stupid, but perhaps not to those ignorant of the process. It's kind of the same as repealing ObamaCare 37 times in the House. The Republican base loves it...it's political theater, and they rely on the fact that Americans are ignorant of the process. Fox News does it's part to feed the ignorant.

    Getting back to President Obama's numerous requests to Congress for additional funding for bridges and highways, I suggest you watch Rachel Maddow's segment tonight on that topic:

    Rachel Maddow: Us Failure to maintain infrastructure

    Watch it...it's informative. She talks about the technical design factors and other specifics of the Washington bridge collapse but also the politics behind why our infrastructure is so behind. I'll just quote one line from Rachel:

    "Obama who all five years of his presidency has been calling for making investments in our infrastructure..."

    You can hear the rest at the above link. I'll repeat my previous statement...it is the Republicans that have been blocking any additional funding for bridges and highways, and they need to put politics aside and start investing in our infrastructure again. The time has never been better with interest rates low and construction workers needing work. It's a no brainer.