In 1955, a bridge was built across the Skagit River, at Mount Vernon, Washington, about 60 miles north of Seattle. Fifty-eight years later, nearly 71,000 cars and trucks cross the I-5 bridge every day. Last Thursday, a truck carrying heavy drilling equipment was crossing the bridge when his load bumped against the top of the steel framework of the bridge. The trucker looked into his rearview mirror and was horrified to see a span of the bridge behind him collapse into the Skagit River. There were three cars on that span of the bridge as it dropped into the cold river and fortunately everyone in the three cars were rescued.
The truck was from Mullen Trucking located in Alberta, British Columbia, Canada. They had a permit issued from the state of Washington that allowed them to carry tall loads up to 15 feet 9 inches tall. The maximum clearance on the Skagit River Bridge was 17 feet, however, there were some areas on the bridge that the clearance dropped to as little as 14 feet 5 inches towards the sides as the beams curve on the sides. There were no signs indicating the low clearance on the sides because state law only requires signage for heights of 14 feet 4 inches or lower.
The Mullen Trucking company truck’s load impacted one of the lower beams towards the side of the bridge. Had the truck remained in the center lane, it would have passed without incident, but again, there was no signage to indicate that or give warning. Look closely at the video above at the shape of the beams at the top of the bridge.
So who was really at fault for causing the collapse of the bridge?
Was is the fault of the driver? Was it the state of Washington who didn’t properly warn motorists of the lower clearance towards the sides of the bridge? Was it deterioration of the bridge due to its age?
According to Rep Jim McDermott (D-WA), Republicans are responsible for the collapse of the bridge. Blaming the GOP of blocking infrastructure spending since Obama first took office, just to hurt him, McDermott said:
“Well, they have clearly spent the whole last five years trying to tear the president down, but they have done it by throwing the American infrastructure and the society under the bus.”
“We have the most long-term unemployed that we have had since the 1930s and there’s no excuse for that. There is plenty of work in this society that needs to be done and all it means is that the Congress has to step up, put the money up, and we can have it.”
“We haven’t raised the gas tax for bridges and highway since 1993. And there is just no reason that we shouldn’t be doing this and putting America back to work. All the other problems that face us would be gone if we had put people back to work.”
Note that the news commentator in the video on the bridge collapse reported that the bridge had repair work twice last year, indicating that there was sufficient funding for such work. However, McDermott still blames the GOP for a lack of funding.
His solution is to raise the federal tax on gasoline to help pay for infrastructure construction which he says will create jobs and fix the economy. The current federal tax is 18.4¢ per gallon. McDermott didn’t specify how much he wants to raise the tax.
It seems no matter what happens in our country today, Democrats are always quick to point the finger of blame at Republicans. It reminds me of school kids who blame others for everything, regardless of who is at fault.
And what is the universal Democratic fix for everything? Raise taxes! American’s can’t afford to keep their homes, feed their families or provide adequate health care for themselves and family, so let’s take more of their money by raising taxes and things will get better, at least that seems to be their warped logic.
President Obama has already broken his campaign mantra about not raising taxes on middle and lower income Americans. Through Obamacare and the fiscal cliff emergency bailout, Obama and the Democrats have raised nearly two dozen taxes, many of which impact middle and lower income Americans. With all of the tax increases, we’re still in the midst of an economic crisis.
This my friends is how Democrats see the world. I think it’s time they get new glasses that allows them to see the real world and what’s really going on and who’s really to blame. Perhaps they need to start by looking in a mirror first?