Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Continuing to stand up for the Residents of Vancouver and Clark County

One of the most important discussions to date about the Columbia River Crossing project occurred on Friday of last week.

As I've been advocating for since the beginning, the CRC Staff have begun some real financial analysis to revise this project and make it something that could actually be affordable for the Federal government and States of Oregon and Washington.
 
Even Oregon's Metro President noted support for a reduction in construction costs that would impact the need for tolling: as construction costs drop, so would the need for tolls. However, Portland Mayor Sam Adams insisted that from his perspective, no tolls means no project.
 
I made it perfectly clear that I have no intention of rolling over on tolls.
Tolling is an extremely regressive tax. Whether one has an income of $10,000 or $100,000, everyone will pay the same toll. To suggest a tolling 'credit' or 'mitigation' for the low-income is simply to admit that tolling is unfair to the working class and those of lesser financial status.
 
In an amusing public exchange with one of our more conservative citizens last week, a local state representative made a remarkable leap of logic -- claiming that anyone who opposes tolls opposes the bridge project in its entirety. My opponent and his allies are contorting the facts to suit their argument, and are SO committed to imposing an unfair tax on our citizens that they can't admit that other options are even possible -- let alone preferable!

Ridiculous.

A third of our Clark County community travels to work in Portland. Most of these folks don't make that commute every day because they just love spending more time in their cars, stuck in traffic and away from their families.
They make that commute every day because good, family-wage jobs are still in short supply on this side of the river.

It’s high time for leadership that is as concerned about our economic present as they are about the future, working with local business to create more jobs right here in Clark County.

We need a bridge that our community can afford. This is what I’ve been working toward for years now.

We need our federal and state governments to make commitments to this project. We need to make the local portion of the funding as small as possible, and find an equitable way to fund it that doesn't make one-third of Clark County pay the bulk of costs on a federal interstate that benefits the entire west coast of the United States of America!

Lastly, it’s high time our elected officials focus on protecting the working class families they represent, rather than playing divisive partisan games.

It’s time to move on.

With your continued support and involvement, better leadership is on the way!

2 comments:

michweek said...

What will you do to decrease the number of single occupancy vehicles and increase the number of carpools, public transit riders and bike commuters into Portland? Secondly, what is your plan to attract viable business to Clark County? How will you get 1/3 of Clark County to stop driving so much?

Tim Leavitt said...

Thank you michweek for commenting.

Having served on the CTRAN Board for the past 6 years, I and the other 8 board members are continually working with CTRAN Staff to improve the efficiency, productivity and availability of public transit service to the citizens of Vancouver and Clark County. Other services offered by CTRAN include the Vanpool program, where in partnership with private companies, a van is offered to the company for employees carpooling to and from Portland.

I'm supportive of a new Interstate 5 crossing, including adequate pedestrian and bike facilities. As you probably are aware, the current conditions are unsafe, and frankly unacceptable for crossing the bridge.

With more focus on creating jobs here in Vancouver, we will reduce the need for so many to have to go to Portland for work. Job creation in our community has not been adequate. Improving the permitting process, minimizing financial impacts to local employers, working more closely with our local employers -- these types of changes will improve the jobs availability here in Vancouver.

Thanks again for contacting me, and do keep in touch!