In Our View: Get in Gear on Interstates

Forget big projects like the Interstate 5 Bridge for a minute. Drive any mile of the approximately 30 miles of interstate freeways in Clark County and you’ll quickly get a local angle on a national problem.

A report commissioned by Congress and released earlier this month says as much as $70 billion annually will be needed for the next two decades to upgrade the interstate highway system. As you drive up Interstate 5 or down Interstate 205, you’ll see the problems including deferred maintenance and an overwhelming growth in traffic.

We haven’t kept pace. America’s interstates are growing old. Funded with $25 billion — the equivalent of $235 billion today — by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed their cause. Washington’s 276 miles of Interstate 5 were completed nearly 50 years ago, in 1969. Oregon opened its stretch of I-5 in 1966 with a ceremony at the Cow Creek Rest Area.