House approves McCaslin bill making road and highway preservation and maintenance a state priority

A bill that would prioritize preservation and maintenance of state roads and highways is speeding over to the Senate after gaining House approval Saturday. John Sattgast reports.

House Bill 1137 reorders the state’s six transportation system policy goals and requires preservation and safety to be among priorities of those goals.

Spokane Valley Representative Bob McCaslin says he sponsored the bill because the state’s backlog of highway maintenance projects has grown to a critical point:

“We’ve got four-thousand miles of roads in our state that are beyond the time that we can fill in the cracks and crevices. We’ve got roads that go across bridges that are not in great shape because of how bridges move. We’ve got these big cracks, and in some places in our state, we’ve got huge holes.”

McCaslin says it’s not only a growing economic problem as trucks are forced to find other routes to get goods to market, it’s also a safety issue as well. Before the state invests in new transportation mega projects, the 4th District lawmaker says it needs to take care of existing infrastructure.

The bill passed the House, 88-10. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.