Lower Tolls Vs. Preserving Heritage: What's More Important In Narrows Bridge Name Debate?

State lawmakers are discussing whether a proposal to sell naming rights for the state's transportation structures would ruin the Northwest's community identity.

The Chuck E. Cheese Bridge.

The thought of it might prompt a few chuckles, but lawmakers who were discussing a bill intended to slow increasing toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge this week questioned whether such a name could be a distinct possibility.

The News Tribune's Melissa Santos had a great story today about 26th District Rep. Jan Angel, a Port Orchard Republican, introducing a measure that would allow for the right to rename state transportation structures for a fee.

(Click here to read the TNT's story)

Anyone who lives west of the Narrows Bridge knows the story. Tolls have increased since the new bridge opened, and they're scheduled to increase at a steady rate.

To slow that increase and help local wallets, Angel is proposing a plan that would provide drivers some relief.

But not all lawmakers are feeling our financial pain, or at least are willing to jeopardize the region's heritage to ease it. Tacoma Democrat Jake Fey told the newspaper that he was concerned about losing our heritage for commercialization.

Mercer Island Rep. Judy Clibborn, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, told the newspaper that she fears a loss of community identity.

It's interesting how the views of local lawmakers are shaped by which side of the water on which they live.

So we ask you, Gig Harbor Patch users, what do you think? Is selling the naming rights to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and other transportation structures worth lower tolls? Tell us in the comments.

Leslie Harbaugh January 25, 2013 at 05:38 AM
If it lowers the bridge tolls, I say let them rent the naming rights. It doesn't have to be permanent.
Kate Hamilton January 25, 2013 at 06:20 AM
To the locals, it will always be the Narrows Bridge. So what the state accountants call it, who cares? As long as they can really do what they say and stop the bleeding from our wallets every day, I'm all for it. Losing a sense of community? What does a Mercer Island representative care what we call the bridge? Maybe it will affect their sense of community when they have to name something to keep state costs down, but I doubt anyone will really complain.
Russ Lombard January 25, 2013 at 06:40 AM
Leslie, good idea! There should be a time limit like a five year max. No renewals or future name changes. However, for the official records (maps, news reporting, etc.) it should always be known as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. We need to preserve our American heritage. If businesses don't like it this arrangement, that's their problem!
Parent January 25, 2013 at 02:41 PM
The narrows bridge is at the bottom of the water! These both are second fiddle anyway. They rename and number HWY's and bridges all the time and yet we will still always say " you know the old Narrows Bridge". As a business owner, I here the excuse of the cost of the toll all the time. Name it what you want and lower the tolls it doesn't change how we refer to it!
dan January 25, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Why not sell the bridge to someone who will lower rates a d still make a profit? What not sell Mt Rainer or charge glimpse fees, we only see it 27 times a year anyway! Heck sell everything! I knew this would happen when all those do gooders yanked all the bill boards down! Hey I know, let us rename prisoners in jail to pay for their keep! I always wanted my own Jean Valjean!
Robert Ellsworth January 25, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Screw the greedy politicians and leave it alone. What do they think it is Safeco Field? Quest Bridge? the Boeing Span? Take a minute and tell your politicians to LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS (BUDGET). This is a problem that ALL politically elected officials seem to either have or get infected with shortly after assuming their LIFE LONG career employment. You and I have a paycheck and somehow inspite of todays economy live with it. Not necessary if you're a political hack. What would happen if I printed my own $100 bills or simply went next door and took the neighbors money to pay my bills each month? Time for all politicians to step back and realize that they are a very large part of the problem.
MO January 25, 2013 at 06:38 PM
So some big corporation comes and puts their name on the Bridge or field or whatever it is that they want to splash their name on and it is supposed to make a difference? What kind of a difference are we talking about here? Is it 5 cents, 50 cents or a 1 dollar that we would be saving everytime we cross the bridge? Right now it is 80 dollars a month for someone to cross the bridge 5 days a week for work if they are only crossing once a day. If they reduce the toll by 50 cents it would go down to 70 dollars a month. Still too much! I think the amount needs to be lowered significantly at least by 1 dollar and 50 cents to 2 dollars. We will see if having some other name on our bridges will make that kind of difference!
E. M. January 25, 2013 at 11:39 PM
If it will lower the toll....fine. If it comes to a vote, make sure the people using the bridge do the voting, not the Eastern Washington folks.
Venture72 January 26, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Whatever happened to Comcast buying the naming rights to the Tacoma Dome a few years back?
Mark Hoppen January 26, 2013 at 09:42 PM
If the naming rights are sold, then will current bridge revenues pay off the yearly bond payments and operational costs? Not likely. The naming rights revenues would be like a drop in the bucket, and tolls will still be raised. Naming the bridge is not a material solution to the current toll issue. I would prefer our legislators to solve the toll issue caused by a reduction in trips from the State's estimated trip estimate. There are fewer cars using the bridge than originally estimated, and toll payers are being forced to pick up the difference. The State should pick up the difference. The bulk of truly local, frequent toll payers voted against the bridge with exactly the current scenario in mind. The State manufactured a large area to prove its case to build the bridge, and then built it anyway. And it works great. But, I don't think local toll payers should be stuck with the penalty of Washington State's pie-eyed revenue estimates. I expect our legislators to do real battle in this regard.
Jack & Magda Haskell January 28, 2013 at 05:26 AM
If it will lower tolls.... rename it. Rename Interstate 16 while your at it.


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