This is in response to Dan Simonson’s letter criticizing Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ vote on the wasteful infrastructure bill (“Think of us, Cathy,” Nov. 19).
Consider this: The $1.2 trillion bill only allocates $110 billion for roads and bridges. That is less than 10% of the bill. In other words, over 90% of the bill calls for spending on projects having nothing to do with roads and bridges. According to CNN, “20% of the 173,000 miles of highways and major roads are in poor condition, as are 45,000 bridges.” Twenty percent of 173,000 miles comes out to 34,600 miles needing repair. The $110 billion allocation is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount needed to complete repairs on roads and bridges.
Money is not the only issue. Consider this: In a decade, the government built thousands of miles of interstate freeways. More recently, due to cumbersome regulations and political bickering, it is taking several decades to build 10 miles of the North Corridor Freeway. Spokane still has dirt and gravel streets, some with deep potholes. Many paved streets are in rough shape as well. And we are just one of 19,495 cities in the U.S. Imagine what local governments would have to spend to improve or repair local streets and bridges.
Like the military, police and fire departments, safe roads and bridges benefit all citizens, not just select groups. A stand-alone bill addressing roads and bridges should have been passed before worrying about problems technology, open markets and local communities could solve without federal intervention.