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!

Monday, August 24, 2009

City Council Primary Candidate Supports Leavitt for Mayor

From a press release the Bart Hansen campaign issued on Friday, August 21, 2009:

Former City Council candidate Bart Hansen today endorsed Vancouver City Councilman Tim Leavitt for Mayor of Vancouver. Hansen, who competed in the Primary election for City Council Position #1, endorsed Leavitt because of his commitment to better local job opportunities, making Vancouver a family-friendly, affordable place to live, work and play, and to fighting against tolls on the I-5 Bridge.

“Tim has shown that he understands how tough it can be out there for working people, people with families,” says Hansen. “I believe that Tim is looking out for ALL of us, and has the experience, common sense, and energy to lead Vancouver into its next chapter.”

Hansen campaigned extensively for the Council position, but was defeated in the primary by Jack Burkman and Bill Turlay. Yesterday, Hansen endorsed Burkman.

Leavitt thanked Hansen for his endorsement, saying that “Bart ran a strong race, and would have been a great addition to the Council. From my perspective as a voter, that was a hard race to make a decision in. They are all strong candidates, dedicated to helping our city advance. I'm happy that Bart will stay involved and interested in City affairs, and I hope we'll see more of him in the future.”

Hansen is looking forward to helping Leavitt continue his leading campaign—-in the unofficial results from the Primary, Leavitt leads the 14-year incumbent Mayor, and the Leavitt campaign is already picking up speed, continuing their grass-roots effort to knock on doors and talk directly with voters.