Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed 28 bills into law Wednesday morning, including a measure that would revive plans to replace the aging Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.
The new law calls for an inventory by the Washington State Department of Transportation of all previous work toward a bridge replacement. That inventory will be due back to the state Legislature in December.
“We see that inventory as really informing our work going forward,” said state Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, who sponsored Senate Bill 5806.
It also sends a message that Washington is ready to restart the process, which in the past has turned divisive.
“We recognize that there are other needs and challenges that must also be discussed and met,” said Cleveland. “But I think it’s monumental that we were able to agree that we need to find a solution first and foremost for replacing that I-5 bridge.”
Disputes over public transportation across the bridge soured the failed Columbia River Crossing project between Oregon and Washington four years ago.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Cleveland. “We intend to spend the summer reaching out and looking at where there is agreement.”
And while Washingtonians celebrated the new measure, Oregon lawmakers sent a more muted response.
The I-5 bridge was not included as a potential project in the $8.2 billion transportation package proposal unveiled this week in Salem.