Amtrak is carrying an increasing number of commuters from Oregon City to Portland’s Union Station at lower fares than TriMet. Clearly, the Columbia River Crossing project staff should give more thought to contracting with Amtrak to carry commuters from Vancouver to Union Station and back again. It was reported that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad said they don’t have enough room in their schedule to carry commuters but the CRC should talk to Amtrak directly.
If the railroad bridge, which already has two tracks, can be used to carry commuters to the Vancouver station, this could remove any need to build light rail tracks over the Columbia and into downtown Vancouver by a new route. If, in the meantime, all trucks over a certain weight were rerouted over the Glenn Jackson Bridge, traffic pressure would be reduced on any new bridge. Add a new Vancouver station building beside the existing historic station and CRC could save hundreds of millions of dollars on the project.
The new bridge could be built much more cheaply without the light rail component. Eventually, the city of Vancouver could add spur lines out from the train station.
I think the CRC has not studied this potential savings very well.