Transportation plans include more CRC cash

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

 

The state supplemental transportation budgets proposed by the Senate and House include funding for Southwest Washington highway projects, including the plan to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.

The House’s 2011-2013 supplemental budget includes roughly $61 million more in revenue for the

project, compared with the initial 2011-2013 budget. In the House’s supplemental transportation budget, $30 million of the increased revenue comes from Oregon and $31 million are federal dollars.

The Senate’s 2011-2013 budget proposed this session includes $54 million more in revenue to the Columbia River Crossing project compared with the 2011-2013 budget passed during the 2011 Legislature, according to the state’s Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee.

When the House Transportation Committee voted to advance their budget on Monday, state Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, added an amendment requiring the state’s transportation commission to spend no more than $1.8 million of its funds for the Columbia River Crossing project on a traffic and revenue analysis, which would take a look at tolling. Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, expressed support for the amendment, which the Transportation Committee approved.

“As we move forward with this project, a sticking point for us has been getting some idea of what the tolls really look like,” Rivers said. “We can get some good information that will give us a good idea about what tolling looks like on the CRC.”

This session, lawmakers are moving a bill through the Legislature that would give state transportation officials the authority to establish tolls on the Columbia River Crossing. The details about how tolling would look have not been worked out, and transportation officials say they plan to hold public meetings to hear suggestions about tolling.

The state Legislature creates its transportation budget every two years, and it passes a supplemental budget in off years based on changes in revenue or project costs. The differences in the House and Senate supplemental transportation budgets will need to be reconciled before the transportation budget can be approved.

The Senate and House proposed transportation budgets also continue to include funding for:

• Adding lanes and building an interchange on State Route 14 for the Camas-Washougal area.

• Building an interchange on State Route 500 at St. Johns Boulevard.

• Widening State Route 502 from I-5 to Battle Ground and building an interchange at I-5 and SR 502.

• Rebuilding the Ridgefield interchange at I-5 and State Route 501.