OLYMPIASen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, today issued the following statement in response to the proposed transportation package that was unveiled in the Washington State Senate on Thursday:

“While I am glad there is headway with a transportation package, I am disappointed that the proposed package fails to address the single most important transportation infrastructure investment for my community and our region – replacement of the antiquated I-5 bridge.

“The current transportation package will commit our community, region and state to another 16 years without any discussion about taking steps forward to replacing the bridge. By the end of the proposed transportation package in 2031, the bridge will be over 114 years old and will be in even more serious need of repair and replacement.

“The future viability of our communities depends upon strategic investment in key projects necessary to move freight, goods and people safely and efficiently. My priority for any transportation revenue package in order to meet these goals is to make certain the projects funded are beneficial to all areas of the state and lend themselves to strengthening our transportation system as a whole.

“I want to ensure that a successful transportation package positions our state for a future with strong economic, environmental, and personal health benefits. I embrace the innovative and bold approach Gov. Inslee proposed in reducing carbon emissions while shifting our state’s reliance on a gas tax to a more stable funding source as our cars and way of life becomes more energy efficient.

“Our state is recovering from the recession, yet, we are not all recovering at the same rates. I continue to hear from constituents who are still struggling to make ends meet. It is difficult for me to ask the people of my district to pay a higher gas tax and additional fees without including a plan for next steps in replacing the lifeline in and out of our community.

“We must make certain to address the areas of our state with the most dire safety, reliability and congestion needs. At the same time, we must keep an eye toward investing fairly and in a balanced way to support all corners of our state.

“I will continue to advocate for fair and balanced investments within any transportation revenue package to best position our state for the future. At this time, I cannot in good conscience commit us to a transportation package that fails to address the antiquated I-5 bridge.”