O’Ban steering the transportation conversation: Reforms before revenue

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, released this statement in response to the cost assessment to repair or modify design errors to concrete pontoons for a new State Route 520 floating bridge, issued yesterday by the state Department of Transportation.

“An additional $81 million dollars will be spent to correct WSDOT design errors and the price tag is likely to continue increasing. WSDOT conceded that the errors have delayed the project’s completion by at least another year. This is a perfect example of why we need more transparency and accountability within WSDOT.

“The amount of waste in time and dollars spent on transportation errors across the state prompted me to introduce House Bill 1986 during this year’s session. The measure addresses WSDOT’s lack of accountability with design defects and it will be a major priority for me when we convene in January for the 2014 session.

“We need to complete State Route 167 and spend more money to maintain the state’s bridges and roads. But in fairness to taxpayers, we cannot entrust additional money to WSDOT without major reforms.

“Tens of millions of dollars spent to fix errors that could have been avoided, construction delays that last for years, and traffic congestion that is only getting worse – we will only see improvement when proper reforms are in place to strengthen WSDOT so that it can responsibly and effectively address our state’s transportation needs.”