I disagree with Laura Jones’ opinions on light rail in her Nov. 25 letter, “Difficult to uncover financial benefit.” Vancouver can’t stay the same as it is today. Cities grow or they die. There may have been a time when Vancouver developed separately from Portland but that’s not a reasonable expectation today. Vancouver’s future is already tied to the Portland metro area and will either grow like Gresham and Hillsboro or become a backwater because our connections to Portland are limited.
Clark County will never produce enough jobs to employ everyone who lives here. We will always have people who commute to Oregon to work. I don’t think Portland cares whether light rail comes to Vancouver or not. We have much more to gain from light rail and the Columbia River Crossing than Portland has to gain. Industry will be more attracted to Vancouver if I-5 can handle truck traffic more efficiently and its employees have easy access to the amenities of Portland.
Vancouver doesn’t have to depend on Portland, but light rail will expand our options for travel. If we don’t build it now, people 10, 20, or 30 years from now will wonder why we didn’t look to the future. If Vancouver is going to be a 21st century city, we need to build the Columbia River Crossing and light rail now.
Philip S. Parker