RTC – thanks for reviewing “Visioning Study” – Now we need action on 3rd & 4th Bridges

My remarks to the Sept. Regional Transportation Council Board

(The video can be viewed here.)

I want to thank the RTC Board for reviewing the 2008 “Visioning Study” last month. Furthermore, I want to thank those Board members who spoke regarding what they would or would not support, in terms of additional bridges and transportation corridors across the Columbia River.

Bart Hanson made it absolutely clear that he would not support one “option” for a bridge to the west of I-5. What I would like to hear, is where he WOULD support placing new bridges and transportation corridors.

The reason the Portland metro area has the nation’s 10th worst traffic congestion, is lack of vehicle capacity. ODOT told citizens during the TOLLING PAC meetings that 80,000 vehicles are presently diverting onto side roads, highlighting the lack of freeway vehicle capacity. The question average citizens want answered is, “how do we solve these traffic congestion problems?”

Recall that the CRC offered only a ONE-minute improvement in the morning, southbound commute; and it had a 10-lane wide bridge!

I want to thank Board member Gary Medvigy for speaking in favor of planning for a new 3rd bridge and transportation corridor now! His unanswered question was: “why can’t we plan for more than one bridge?”

I would like to hear from Chair McInerny-Ogle, where would she support locating a new 3rd bridge and corridor? I would like to hear from the Ports where they would desire a new bridge and corridor.

I would like our small-town representatives to share where and when they believe we should be planning for 3rd and 4th bridges across the river.

I want to thank Washougal Board member Paul Greenlee for his candor. He believes citizens would be better served if we DON’T build new 3rd & 4th bridges and corridors. Keeping people trapped in congestion will encourage them to find jobs on this side of the river, is his view. While I don’t believe that’s the opinion of the majority of Camas or Washougal citizens, I give him credit for candor, & for sharing his opinion and desire for job creation, via gridlock.

It’s often said: “we don’t have enough money to plan for two projects”. Citizen Ed Barnes highlighted the fact that we currently have an unfunded plan for the 179th Street interchange. Clearly, this body has the ability to put forward plans that are not yet funded. You’re taking ACTION on that needed transportation improvement. Why can’t you do the same for 3rd and 4th bridges?

WSDOT at one time owned land at 192nd & SR-14 that would have been perfect for landing an east county bridge. Sadly, it was sold and is being developed by the City of Vancouver today.

Please, tell citizens how you will solve the huge traffic congestion problems. Tell us where and when you support planning for 3rd and 4th bridges! We need more than two ways to cross the Columbia River!


The entire RTC Board meeting can be viewed here, via CVTV.