Thursday, August 27, 2009

At Long Last, CRC Staff to Present Options for a 'Down-Sized' Bridge Project

At the September 4th meeting of the CRC Project Sponsors Council (comprised of myself, Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart, Royce Pollard, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Metro Councilor David Bragdon, and Trimet Director Fred Hansen), CRC Staff will present opportunities to scale back the proposed bridge crossing, light rail transit and improvement to seven interchanges.

For several years now, through the CTRAN Board and the Vancouver City Council, I have been lobbying for the following on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver, the riders of CTRAN and the commuters of Clark County (and, for my detractors, allow me to say that this is all a matter of public record):

· No Tolls on the I-5 or I-205 Bridges

· More commitment of funding from Federal and both State Governments

· An improvement project, not just a replacement -- a new bridge with 12 lanes and related improvements

· Along with the CTRAN Board of Directors, light rail transit with the following caveats:

o Construction paid by the Federal Transit Administration

o Voters decide on operation and maintenance costs

It has become painfully apparent that neither the Feds nor the States are prepared at this time to commit to the majority of costs for a proposed $4.1 billion project.

BUT, I have made it clear for some two years now that tolling both bridges to pay the bulk share of this project, and burdening the citizens of our City and our County is not acceptable.

Other options must be considered.

Royce Pollard would prefer to put the burden of the costs of this enormous project on the backs of the very people he is supposed to represent. Clark County commuters must ALREADY pay Oregon income tax for the 'privilege' of current leadership's failure to create adequate family-wage jobs. NOW, he is insisting that they must also bear the burden of paying for this federal asset?

In order to avoid any possible tolling, the next logical step is to consider scaling back the scope and size of the project. If we can't afford this bloated legacy project, here's a novel idea: let's build something we CAN afford!

You've heard that from me before, and now the public will have an opportunity to hear from the CRC Staff what they have determined is feasible for a scaled-back project. I am extremely pleased that this presentation is occurring.

Please stay tuned, and rest assured that I will continue to look out for you!

No comments: