MOUNT VERNON – State Representatives Jeff Morris (D-Mount Vernon) and Kristine Lytton (D-Anacortes) issued the following statement regarding the collapse of the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge:
"First, we would like to join all those who have commended the tremendous work of our first responders, whose actions miraculously ensured that no one lost their lives in the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge. We are grateful and thankful that we have such talented and dedicate public servants in our community.
We are also incredibly proud of the response of the Skagit County Sheriff’s department, Mount Vernon and Burlington Fire departments, and the State Troopers who serve our area. Their practice and dedication paid off in ways not measured by dollars but in lives saved.
This accident is a reminder that our transportation infrastructure requires ongoing investment in maintenance and upkeep. This bridge was not considered structurally unsound, but it was deemed outdated based on the type and volume of traffic it was carrying. It should raise red flags when a single oversized freight truck can disrupt an entire region’s transportation system. We need to be doing more as a state to prevent this type of disaster from happening again.
As representatives of the 40th Legislative District, we are doing everything in our power to secure the resources, expertise and action necessary to handle the current situation and mitigate the damage to the quality of life and the economy of northwest Washington.
Our transportation network in the North Puget Sound is inextricably linked to the ferry system. While Governor Inslee’s emergency proclamation was a positive step for getting Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties the resources that they need, it does not address our marine highways that serves the islands of San Juan County. We are pushing to have the state of emergency extended to San Juan County to ensure that the full area of the impact of is addressed.
We also urge the Washington State Department of Transportation to consider moving an additional passenger train to the North Cascade Corridor to help those attempting to travel between Bellingham and Seattle. Increasing the frequency of rail service along this route is an immediate step that can be taken to reduce some of the congestion and mitigate the negative impacts on residents, particularly with traffic set to worsen with Memorial Day traffic.
Finally, we would like to thank Governor Inslee, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Washington State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson for their leadership following the Skagit River Bridge collapse yesterday evening. Their quick and decisive actions have helped our community greatly during this time of need."