Cheers: To building bridges. During a visit to Vancouver this week, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., stressed that a replacement Interstate 5 Bridge is well-positioned for federal funding. Last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $5 billion for a grant program to support such mega-projects. Cantwell, who sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the committee wrote the standards for the grant with the I-5 Bridge in mind: “It just so happens that this project meets practically all of the criteria that is laid out in the program. Let’s get busy on applying to this specific program.”
Many things must come together for a replacement to be approved — including federal support. Forty years ago, 92 percent of the Interstate 205 project was paid for with federal funds. Policy changes since then have thrust much of the burden to the states, but federal support still is essential.
Jeers: To the Clark County Council. Some councilors remain on the wrong side of logic and good governance in their failure to approve a redistricting map for council seats. On Wednesday, they deadlocked 2-2, with Gary Medvigy and Julie Olson supporting a map that is an egregious violation of the voters’ will.
Previously, council members have openly stated a desire to keep current councilors in separate districts, rejecting a map approved by voters in November and a similar one supported by the majority of a redistricting commission. As one public commenter said, quoting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “The core principle of republican government is the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.”
Cheers: To the Parade of Bands. Marching band members will need to polish their trombones and don their marching shoes. The Hazel Dell Parade of Bands is returning May 21 following a two-year COVID-19 hiatus.
The parade typically features dozens of high school marching bands from the Northwest, in addition to floats and equestrian entries. The return of the parade is another sign of normalcy, even as the pandemic lingers. That is one reason to look forward to the event, but another reason is an age-old one: Everybody loves a parade.
Jeers: To isolation. The tiny town of Point Roberts has felt the effects of the pandemic more than most. Being attached to British Columbia but standing as part of Washington because it rests south of the 49th parallel, two border crossings are required to reach Point Roberts by land. Border restrictions isolated residents throughout the pandemic.
Officials estimate that 85 percent of the local economy disappeared with the pandemic, and the population has plummeted. Officials should have granted the people of Point Roberts a border exception at the start of the pandemic to help a town that is in a unique situation.
Cheers: To public services. Monday’s snowfall downed power lines and trees and caused a bit of havoc on the streets, giving many Clark County residents and students an unexpected day off. But while many of us were waiting out the storm in the comfort of home, public works employees, utility workers and countless others got busy.
On Tuesday, for example, Clark Public Utilities spokesperson Dameon Pesanti noted that 30 crews with 130 personnel were working to get power restored. Other public employees also were working to restore services or catch up on lost work time. Cheers go to everybody who put in extra effort following an unexpected storm.