Spin Control

WA Lege Day 30: Name that bridge -- for a price

OLYMPIA -- Driving from Spokane to Seattle might take a motorist west on the Avista Highway, across the Microsoft Bridge to the Starbucks Expressway under a bill the Legislature is considering  to sell the rights to put corporate or other names on the state's roads, bridges, tunnels and ferries. 

Some members of the Senate Transportation Committee made light of the idea, wondering for example, if every legislator would get a chance to name at least one structure after themselves and  what it would cost to rename the Tacoma Narrows Bridge the Chuck E. Cheese Bridge.

The cost is unclear, said the committee's staff. There's no cost estimate or fiscal analysis of the proposal.

A 2009 study on selling the naming rights to name the state's ferries estimated it that proposal could raise about $10 million a year, Dan O'Neal of the Washington State Transportation Commission said. Not a lot of money, but "it may have some merit" O'Neal said.

It's an idea the state should at least consider, Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said, if it will bring some money into the state's road project coffers. After all, that $10 million going into the state transportation fund would be money that isn't coming out of the taxpayers' pockets, he said.




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