SEATTLE, WA – In response to the Skagit River bridge collapse, Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) released the following statement:   

“My thoughts this morning are with the individuals involved in the bridge collapse over the Skagit River. I wish them a speedy recovery. Though I am relieved to hear that there were no serious injuries, the danger it posed was very real, and the problem it represents is deeply troubling.

“Despite huge reductions in our national deficit, we’ve spent the last few months haggling over budget cuts and hyping up a debt crisis that doesn’t exist. Congress has slashed resources for some of our most fundamental necessities: education, research and development, job training, and infrastructure. Is it any surprise that in the midst of this unwise and unnecessary austerity, we are beginning to see the structures that our citizens depend on, literally crumbling around us?

“In 2012, the Federal Highway Administration found that one in nine bridges in America are structurally deficient. That is a shocking statistic for structures that are a cornerstone of our domestic and foreign commerce. Our economy has no chance of recovering, let alone thriving, without supporting the most basic of our infrastructure needs. Even more alarming is the fact that this bridge was not considered structurally deficient.

“The most basic role of our government is ensuring the safety of the public.  Without the resources to do so, I worry that avoidable disasters like this will become commonplace. It is time to reinvest in our state and in our country. We can’t afford not to.”