Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NO to Tolls and YES to Equitable Funding

On the Oregonian's website today, Allan Brettman wrote about our tight Mayoral race here in Vancouver, and the issue of tolls that will likely be a crucial point for many voters in our town.

The Primary election results, and Pollard's commentary about the issues, show that he's simply not listening to the people that he is supposed to be representing.

Or, maybe he is listening and just doesn't care. After all, he has publicly admitted there is no reason for him to travel to Portland. So, paying a toll won't have any personal impact on him.

What he refuses to understand, however, is that a toll that charges Vancouver's working class for the "privilege" of crossing the river because the current administration has done next to nothing to grow jobs here in the last two decades, with the added burden of paying Oregon income tax without receiving representation, is unequitable, undemocratic, and discriminatory.

We need to think out of the box here.

For the umpteenth time, I will say this: that bridge is a federal asset. Yes, we all know that transportation funds aren't what they used to be. But frankly, neither are our savings accounts!

If the federal and state governments can't come up with money for this bridge, what makes Pollard think that Clark County commuters can pay for it?

We need to take a step back and try to collaborate with our federal and state delegations, rather than blindly follow the party line. And if $4 billion is more than we can afford right now, then we need to consider how to scale this project so that we "pay-as-we-go," building it with money we actually have, rather than taking out credit our children's children's children will have to pay back.

Pollard and his yes-men are starting to go around saying that I have some secret, nefarious plan to kill this project. That's a load of baloney, and they're saying it because it's their only hope of swaying public opinion back in their direction.

60% of voters showed last night what this community really thinks--Pollard doesn't get it, and he's not the candidate who's looking out for their interests.

It's time to move away from business as usual, and secure a funding model for this bridge that is equitable for ALL of the stakeholders.