New ideas sought to keep state moving

Clark County residents urged to participate in transportation survey

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OLYMPIA — Clark County residents are invited to tell state officials about their transportation priorities and how to pay for them.

The Washington State Transportation Commission is conducting a statewide survey asking citizens what they think about the transportation system, what their transportation priorities are, and how their needs should be funded. Residents can participate in the survey online at Voice of Washington Survey.

Tim Schauer, chairman-elect of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, said it is important for Southwest Washington residents to participate in the survey so they can receive representation at the state level.

“Southwest Washington is unique economically and it’s a unique area, so its issues should be included in prioritization and funding,” Schauer said. “We have great state leaders who can express our needs, but it’s no substitute for individuals making a difference.”

The findings of the survey will be delivered to state officials making decisions about transportation, including Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Connecting Washington Task Force, of which Schauer is a member. The task force was assembled to develop a transportation revenue package for the 2012 legislative session.

The results of the survey will be compiled by mid-October and will be broken down at a state and regional level. The survey is an opportunity for unique regions like Clark County to voice their opinion on transportation needs and funding.

Dean Lookingbill, transportation director for the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, said the area’s transportation concerns are also unique because of the Oregon border and the area’s growth in the past 20 years, which has driven the need for the Columbia River Crossing.

“In this economic climate, we’re on the edge of change,” Lookingbill said. “This survey can help identify what to focus on.”

Lookingbill also encouraged people to look at the use of revenue and how projects would be funded.

“It’s important for people to think about the transportation revenue sources. Look at the use of revenue for preservation and maintenance, not just capital projects,” Lookingbill said.

For more information about the survey, go to Washington State Transportation Commission.