southparkbridge.jpg
South Park Bridge
There's been no shortage of consternation over how we've spent our stimulus dollars. Seattle is all sorts of unhappy about none of

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CBS, Tom Coburn, Dow Constantine Wag Fingers at Our Stimulus Spending

southparkbridge.jpg
South Park Bridge
There's been no shortage of consternation over how we've spent our stimulus dollars. Seattle is all sorts of unhappy about none of the state-funneled money going to Seattle. And now, reports CBS News, Oklahoma Senator/all-around idiot Tom Coburn--the guy who once said, "That agenda [i.e. the "gay agenda] is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today"--isn't happy about the NE 36th st. bridge over 520 in Redmond.

Does Coburn have a legimitate point, for once in his life? A lot of people have teed off on the bridge, which connects two Microsoft campuses. Basically, the argument is that the software giant, which has $20 billion of cash in reserve, would have an easier time coming up with the extra $11 million (it's paying $36.5 million already) than would a number of cash-strapped municipalities whose infrastructure needs work. (For the other side, read this Seattle Times op-ed, in which Redmond mayor John Marchione and Puget Sound Regional Council executive director Bob Drewel make the case for the bridge, which they argue is necessary to accommodate Redmond's current status as a job center as well as its planned growth.)

What cash-strapped municipality's crumbling infrastructure needs work? There are more than a few, but how about King County and its South Park bridge (see this article by Aimee Curl) whose mention in the CBS article is seized on by County Executive candidate Dow Constantine in this press release:

"Last night the CBS Evening News made a national example of the crumbling South Park Bridge, which, as their story correctly pointed out, is so dilapidated that it may have to be shut down next year. When that happens, we will lose a busy crossing point over the Duwamish River that carries 20,000 vehicles a day, and the too often neglected South Park neighborhood near Boeing Field will suffer further as a result.

"It should never have gotten to this point. Over the past few years, I have worked to identify a funding source for the replacement of this crumbling, unsafe public structure. I successfully lobbied to get this project included in the 2007 Roads and Transit ballot issue, and like the reporter who covered this story, I felt that the South Park Bridge was

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Minnesota's "50"
an excellent candidate for federal stimulus funds. I made sure to get this bridge at the top of King County's stimulus funding list, and I traveled to Washington, D.C. in December and January to meet with our state's delegation to spotlight the bridge's replacement as a worthy stimulus project.

"I will continue to fight for funding to replace this key piece of King County infrastructure. This project would create many new construction jobs and would ensure a brighter future for working-class neighborhoods. Given the possibility of further stimulus spending in the future, I will continue reaching out to our delegation in Washington, D.C. to get this project completed."

We don't know enough to be able to say which bridges need to be built or fixed first, but here's a fun fact: Minnesota's I-35 bridge, which infamously collapsed in 2007, scored a 50 (out of 100) in the federal "sufficiency ratings", which measure a bridge's viability. By contrast, the South Park Bridge scored 4, and the Viaduct 9.

 
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