On Friday, October 13, US Senator Patty Murray announced the award of $34 million dollars in Federal TIGER II grant funds. With County, State and local government funds already identified earlier this year, this amount completes the $130 million needed to replace the South Park Bridge. Funding the replacement of the South Park Bridge has been a priority because our region’s economic competitiveness relies on the South Park Bridge; it serves an area that is home to 32,000 jobs. It is the major entry point to South Park’s commercial center and acted as a lifeline to a low-income and multi-ethnic community where 76 percent of the businesses are minority owned. The County failed South Park and the region when the bridge closed in June because of safety concerns.
Even though the bridge is outside the legislative district I represent, I led the legislative effort to support the County’s TIGER I grant to replace the South Park Bridge last session. The TIGER II application was stronger than the first application because the County had other financial commitments for the second round that were not on the table in the first round.
While I am sorely disappointed the bridge was not replaced before it closed, impacting the people and businesses that rely on it, I am pleased it will be replaced without imposing an additional tax on local businesses for a bridge that serves the region, as one of my opponents this year would have advocated.