|October 13, 2011, 04:52 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff|
In an effort to pressure Congress to pass jobs legislation, a local group of activists is planning a protest Friday on a bridge in San Mateo they say is structurally unsafe and should be fixed with federal stimulus money.
The Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council, in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, wants Congress to put money toward fixing the country’s ailing infrastructure and to create jobs in the process.
The local Dream Council is a relatively new group made up of MoveOn.org members that rallied in August at U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo’s Palo Alto office.
At 4 p.m. Friday, the group hopes to attract at least 100 people for a rally at a bridge that crosses State Route 92 at Alameda de las Pulgas in San Mateo to highlight the bridge’s state of disrepair.
The bridge, built in 1963, has a current structural rating of “4” for the deck, considered to be structurally deficient, requiring frequent monitoring and repair, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s 2010 National Bridge Inventory.
The bridge has a superstructure rating of “7” and a substructure rating of “5,” according to the report. Any rating below “5” is considered to be structurally deficient. The superstructure supports the deck and the substructure connects the bridge to the ground.
The bridge was last inspected in 2008, according to the bridge inventory report.
“Fixing our infrastructure is a solution to the jobs problem,” said Cilla Raughley, spokeswoman for the local Dream Council.
The intent of the rally, she said, is to pressure Congress to pass the American Jobs Act.
But the Senate shot down President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill Tuesday night. The White House now intends to force additional votes on separate pieces of the measure, such as infrastructure spending, jobless assistance and tax cuts for individuals and businesses.
“The government needs to create jobs before making cuts,” Raughley said. “Our aging infrastructure is alarming.”
In San Mateo, 74 bridges have been found with ratings below “5,” according to the national bridge inventory report.
The bridge at Alameda de las Pulgas where the rally is planned is listed as No. 350161 on the report.
The bridge structure itself is the responsibility of Caltrans, said San Mateo Public Works Director Larry Patterson. The city’s responsibility is limited to the paving, railings and other items on the structure, Patterson said.
An official with Caltrans did not tell the Daily Journal yesterday whether the bridge was indeed structurally deficient as the report indicates or when the last time the bridge was inspected.
Regardless of whose responsibility it is to fix the bridge in San Mateo, the local Dream Council wants it done with federal stimulus money.
“Those are good-paying jobs,” Raughley said.
She is not sure how many will attend the rally but she is hoping for at least 100.
The San Mateo Police Department is aware of the event and will be taking steps to ensure public safety and minimal disruption to residents while respecting the right of all citizens to gather and protest peacefully, according to an email from San Mateo Councilman David Lim.
To learn more about the rally visit http://civic.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=121928