Brunswick Beacon, 02.10.22
Rouzer opposed everything Biden did to improve infrastructure. His political gamesmanship and obstruction might have cost our last chance at federal help to rebuild the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and perhaps save lives.
Roads and bridges are lifelines. They carry goods and services and get us to jobs, education and healthcare. As a AAA Mid-Atlantic senior policy manager for over two decades, I worked to get Federal and state governments to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure. CFMB’s movable span has just 10 years useful life left. Replacing it will cost up to $600 million, the most expensive transportation project in state history.
Sixty-one thousand vehicles use CFMB daily. That will only increase because Brunswick County is part of the second fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. A private proposal in July to replace CFMB with a toll span was rejected as tolls would effectively deprive Brunswick County of access to Wilmington.
Meanwhile, bridge closures and repairs mount. CFMB closed three times last year. The 2019 repair cost $15 million. The next is expected to cost $25 million. The human cost is incalculable. How many emergency police and medical trips were delayed when minutes mean lives?
CFMB is 53 years old. A 50-year-old bridge collapsed Jan. 28 in Pennsylvania. Survivors were pulled to safety by onlookers in a human chain. “We’ve got to move,” Biden said, viewing the wreckage hours later. “We don’t need headlines that say someone was killed when the next bridge collapses.”
None of that moves Rouzer. He’s more interested in playing partisan political games than the safety and quality of life of constituents who must rely on a dangerously antiquated bridge to cross the Cape Fear.