Yes­ter­day after­noon on Dai­ly Kos, pro­gres­sive activist Wu Ming sug­gest­ed that, in the wake of the fail­ure of Inter­state 5’s Skag­it Riv­er cross­ing, which car­ries more than sev­en­ty thou­sand vehi­cles a day, it would be appro­pri­ate to give the span a new name: The Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge. Ming wrote:

As I watched the cov­er­age of the Skag­it Riv­er bridge col­lapse last night, this image came to me. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are well famil­iar with Tim Eyman, Wash­ing­ton’s own Howard Jarvis equiv­a­lent and horse’s ass, who has been cham­pi­oning ini­tia­tives for decades to cut vehi­cle excise tax­es and license reg­is­tra­tion fees, and gen­er­al­ly defund state gov­ern­ment and pub­lic infra­struc­ture. In hon­or of his life’s work enabling the dis­in­vest­ment in infra­struc­ture that facil­i­tat­ed this bridge col­lapse, please feel free to share this image far and wide.

We would say dis­hon­or, but oth­er­wise, we con­cur with Wu. His idea makes sense. No one can dri­ve on the bridge or use it, and that’s the fate that awaits all of our oth­er pub­lic ser­vices if we don’t put a stop to Eyman’s destruc­tive schemes — past, present, and future. So why not rename it after Eyman?

Wu illus­trat­ed his idea by cap­tion­ing a pic­ture of the failed span with the words “Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge”. The team at NPI fig­ured, why not put a road­geek spin on the meme? So I fired up Adobe Fire­works and put this together:

Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge

The pho­to is by WSDOT. The graph­ics are by NPI. Here’s a graph­ic only version:

Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge

The “Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge” is what engi­neers call a “frac­ture-crit­i­cal” bridge. That means it has a sin­gle point of fail­ure. The bridge actu­al­ly pre­dates the con­struc­tion of I‑5; it was built in 1955 to car­ry High­way 99 over the Skag­it Riv­er. The bridge was­n’t designed for the traf­fic vol­umes it used to han­dle until yes­ter­day, but it has not been replaced because we have not been proac­tive in mod­ern­iz­ing our infra­struc­ture. There are hun­dreds of struc­tural­ly defi­cient or func­tion­al­ly obso­lete bridges all over Wash­ing­ton that need replacing.

Under cur­rent fis­cal con­straints, there is no intent at this point to rebuild the entire bridge.”

— Wash­ing­ton Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Lynn Peter­son, speak­ing to reporters at a press con­fer­ence yesterday

Since 1999, Tim Eyman’s ini­tia­tives — and the Leg­is­la­ture’s rein­state­ment of some of Eyman’s ini­tia­tives — have wiped out bil­lions in fund­ing for pub­lic ser­vices, includ­ing fer­ries, high­ways, roads, bridges, and mass transit.

Eyman has also fought against pret­ty much every attempt to reverse the dam­age he has caused and invest in new trans­porta­tion infrastructure.

He tried to kill Sound Tran­sit’s Cen­tral Link in 2002 with I‑776 (which also repealed local vehi­cle fees in four coun­ties that paid for coun­ty roads), opposed the nick­el gas tax increase passed by the Leg­is­la­ture in 2003, and cam­paigned for I‑912, a 2005 ini­tia­tive spear­head­ed by John Carl­son and Kir­by Wilbur that sought to gut the 2005 Trans­porta­tion Pack­age approved by law­mak­ers and Gov­er­nor Gregoire.

Eyman sub­se­quent­ly tried to repeal fund­ing for Amtrak Cas­cades and freight mobil­i­ty the fol­low­ing year with I‑917, which nar­row­ly missed the bal­lot due to his incom­pe­tence. (He col­lect­ed sig­na­tures, but not quite enough). After I‑917 failed, Eyman cam­paigned against the Bridg­ing the Gap levy in Seat­tle, but it passed.

If that weren’t enough, Eyman has tried on three occa­sions to mess with trans­porta­tion plan­ning. He pro­posed an ini­tia­tive in 2000 (I‑745) to require that 90% of WSDOT’s bud­get be spent on roads. Vot­ers reject­ed it.

In 2008, he pro­posed a sim­i­lar mea­sure (I‑985) which vot­ers also rejected.

And two years ago, he tried to block Sound Tran­sit’s East Link project and make vari­able tolling ille­gal with I‑1125. Vot­ers reject­ed that as well.

There is no one in Wash­ing­ton who has done more to sab­o­tage the effort to ensure the Ever­green State has good roads and safe bridges than Tim Eyman. Eyman has unequiv­o­cal­ly earned the dis­hon­or of hav­ing our state’s most promi­nent failed stretch of high­way named after him. At least until it’s fixed or replaced.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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3 replies on “Time to give the failed I‑5 Skagit River span a new name: The Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge”

  1. Hope you’re hap­py, Tim Eyman. Too bad it was­n’t you that got dumped into the riv­er. To bad it was­n’t you scared half out of your mind as your car filled with water. To bad you weren’t the one to be forced to sit on your car wait­ing to be rescued.

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