• Problems with Bertha, 520 bridge threaten to hold up other projects

    By: Essex Porter


    Behind schedule and over budget, the tunnel project and the 520 bridge problems are undermining confidence in the Washington Department of Transportation and hurting efforts to pass a new transportation revenue package. "It doesn't help, let's put it that way," said Sen. Curtis King (R)-Yakima, the co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

    The boring machine for the Highway 99 tunnel project has been stopped for a month. Engineering mistakes on the Highway 520 bridge are costing $208 million.

    The Republican-dominated Senate and the Democratic-led House have been talking about raising the gas tax at least 10 cents a gallon, a decision that will ultimately go before voters. Asked if he trusts government with that money, one commuter named Eric replied, "Probably not, but I hope for the best."

    But Governor Jay Inslee believes voters will remember that the state has completed big projects, like floating bridges and tunnels. "We win their trust because we have confidence in ourselves as a state. You know, this is a state that has done some very, very large things," Inslee said.

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