Trump’s infrastructure talks crumble like Washington’s bridges, roads

SEATTLE -- Talks on a $2 trillion infrastructure plan crumbled last week in Washington, D.C., as roads and bridges in Washington state continue to decay.

The American Society of Civil Engineers grades the country's infrastructure at a D+, spelling the desperate need for an infusion of funding.

Even though President Donald Trump and Democrats want to see trillions of dollars invested in infrastructure, in the end, they couldn't put aside politics.

"You know what, you can't do it under these circumstances, so get these phony investigations over with," Trump said in the Rose Garden after walking out of scheduled talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The president is refusing to deal with Democrats on bipartisan issues until they drop investigations into his presidency, which means no new federal funds in Washington state for decaying bridges and congested roads.

Where will the next collapse take place? A tall truck may have triggered the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge, but its aging infrastructure helped bring it down.

Across the state, the ASCE reports nearly 400 bridges are "structurally deficient." That includes bridges like Interstate 5 over Jackson Street, which carries more than 70,000 vehicles each day. It's the most traveled, structurally-deficient bridge in the state.

WSDOT's patchwork can only go so far. The Ship Canal Bridge is one of more than 300 bridges that needs a complete deck overhaul within the next decade. That one project will cost an estimated $55 million, but WSDOT said they won't have the money until at least 2026.

There are roads where you can see your tax dollars at work. WSDOT is widening Interstate 5 near JBLM, for one. Overnight lane and ramp closures are set to continue after the holiday weekend.

Roads in western Washington were not ready for the region's population boom, leading to some of the worst traffic delays in the country. The congestion is compounding an already costly, decaying system.

Even with one of the highest gas tax rates in the country, the state is struggling to keep up with crumbling infrastructure. While any infrastructure investment from the federal level would be a huge positive for Washington state, it doesn't appear a deal is close in Washington, D.C.

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