Labor Day - Remember the Workers

by Dustin Terpening
I don’t know about you, but when Labor Day weekend approaches, I can’t help but feel a little sad that summer is coming to an end. The saving grace for me is that we at least had a really nice summer this year. Though, I have to admit, I’m getting a little excited about fall in the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer – leaves changing colors, spiced ciders, football, etc. My seasonal-related feelings aside, the Labor Day holiday is a good reminder to stop for a minute and review all that we have and are accomplishing. From the WSDOT perspective, we’ve accomplished a lot. This is our busiest summer ever, and we’re still working hard to wrap everything up before winter arrives. I’m sure you’ve noticed the many workers clad in bright orange/yellow gear on many of your local roadways. While the construction projects can be an inconvenience at times, those projects have a little more meaning this year considering the state of the economy. Many of the workers you see along the highways are back to work and being supported by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

There are more than 135 Recovery and Reinvestment projects awarded or underway in almost every county of the state right now. In addition, we are currently delivering the largest capital construction program in Washington’s history, including hundreds of safety and congestion relief projects funded by the 2003 and 2005 gas tax, worth $13.4 billion. As of June 30, WSDOT has completed 194 of 391 projects, and by September 30, 2009, 284 of the 391 projects (73 percent) will either be completed or under construction.

That’s a lot of work. And it takes a lot of workers to make it all happen. In honor of Labor Day, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a proclamation (pdf 120 KB) encouraging state residents to celebrate Washington transportation workers. Please take a moment this Labor Day to remember the workers.