Editorial: “State’s infrastructure failures require immediate attention.” So do problems in the ferry system.

State’s infrastructure failures require immediate attention,” says the headline over a Seattle Times editorial. We agree.

The editorial makes several important points, which we’ll point to here.

…the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee have been disappointingly slow to fix the neglect that wastes time and fortune. That’s shocking, especially with legislative leaders shrugging about missing the opportunity to act this year.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said Friday a tentative schedule for a November 2021 infrastructure special session is unlikely, even though House and Senate transportation chairs were nearing agreement on terms.

“We’ve blown past every deadline in that plan,” she said.

Washingtonians should not have to wait much longer. If legislators cannot find a way to make a special session work this year, they must prove early in 2022 they take this problem seriously and get a transportation deal done.

And, the editorial reminds readers how we got here.

An infrastructure bill should have emerged in the Legislature’s spring session — or in a special session, as this editorial page called for in both April and May after the state’s transportation secretary diagnosed “a glide path to failure.”

Democratic transportation chairs in the House and Senate differed on what taxes would pay for which projects. Republicans in both chambers stubbornly refused to give an inch on issuing bonds to mitigate a jarring tax increase. Inslee abused his veto power to undermine a legislative bargain that leveraged climate legislation to create political pressure for the transportation package.

As they say, read the whole thing. And then read a good companion editorial on the need to fix problems with the state ferry system.

Washington State Ferries, the nation’s largest ferry system, is in trouble. After months of delays and canceled sailings, staffing woes have forced the agency to cut back services indefinitely. While COVID-19 is a major cause, its effects exacerbated challenges for the underfunded and antiquated system.

These delays and disruptions are unacceptable in a system that has millions of boardings each year, offers convenient access around the Puget Sound and is the only viable transportation option for many Washingtonians.