Washington’s roads and bridges need nearly $140 billion in investments, but it’s unclear what Eastern Washington could get out of President Trump’s infrastructure plan.
The $200 billion put forth in the plan, money intended to be leveraged by local and state dollars, could cover the needs in Washington for example, but not much else in the remaining 49 states.
Besides the $140 billion needed to fix roads and bridges the state needs $56 billion to maintain the freight rail system, aviation infrastructure and ports, as well as the water, wastewater, stormwater and energy systems, according to a report released last year by the Association of Washington Business, the Association of Washington Cities, Washington State Association of Counties and Washington Ports.
Trump’s infrastructure plan prioritizes roads and bridges.
The most recent assessment done by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Washington’s roads a D-plus and the bridges scored a C. According to that 2013 report, the 136,000 miles of roads were built more than 50 years ago and are being used well beyond their intended lifespan.
“Just as maintenance and improvement needs are increasing, transportation funding is decreasing, accompanied by poorer average pavement condition and increased congestion,” the report said.
The bulk of the state’s 7,800 bridges are in fair shape, with just 5 percent listed as “structurally deficient.” But more than a third of the state’s bridges are older than 50 years, and another third will exceed their “design life” in the next 20 years.
More than 1,500 bridges are listed as “functionally obsolete” because they either can’t meet current traffic demands or don’t meet current design standards.
There are 14 bridges in Spokane County listed in poor condition by the state transportation department, which means inspectors have seen “advanced deficiencies such as section loss, deterioration, cracking, spalling, scour, or seriously affected primary structural components.”
The American Society of Civil Engineers hasn’t graded Idaho’s infrastructure, but said 411 of the state’s 4,445 bridges are structurally deficient and 15 percent of its 51,000 miles of roads are in poor condition.
Overall, the ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a D-plus. America’s roads earned a D grade, and the bridges a C-plus.
It’s unclear what Trump’s plan would cover, even though he promised in his State of the Union address “gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.”
Staci Lehman, spokeswoman with the Spokane Regional Transportation Council, said it is “hard to tell at this point” if local funding will be altered by Trump’s plan. SRTC is responsible for doling out federal funding for regional projects.
Lehman added that the council has heard transit projects may suffer financially under the plan and there may be an emphasis placed on projects involving freight.
Requests to Spokane Transit Authority for comment about transit funding were not returned.
“We have no real details,” Lehman said in an email. “At this point, the best thing we can do as a region is work together to have priorities clear and projects ready so we can be ready to move forward if funding opportunities do come our way.”
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