I received a mailer from Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, with a survey postcard about the Columbia River Crossing and light rail. As someone who develops comment forms and opinion surveys for a living, the content of this mailer concerned me. It appears to me that the Congresswoman is lumping the overall bridge replacement project together with its light rail component. Although they are obviously connected, they should not be viewed as one and the same when asking about a public vote. Whether or not a person votes to pay for maintenance and operations of light rail should not serve as an indication of how they feel about the bridge replacement in general. I’ve heard that we can’t have one without the other, but I’m still not convinced. Couldn’t a bridge be designed to accommodate light rail in the future? That would be the smart thing to do.
I appreciate that our Congresswoman is actually trying to find out what we really think, but I’m disappointed in the hamfisted way she did it. Regardless, I encourage everyone to fill out and return this postcard. Read it carefully and then check the available “Other” box. Use that space to share your opinion about the bridge replacement and light rail as two separate issues.