Dean Osterman’s March 15 letter, “Stop the grandstanding,” complained that Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler invited constituents’ input, but the request came late in bridge planning. As a transportation committee member, our congresswoman rightfully seeks input. Serious concerns about the Columbia River Crossing light-rail bridge project design and finances should be considered now. Herrera Beutler urges C-Tran to hold a vote of Clark County residents as soon as possible.
A light-rail vote is included in C-Tran’s “locally preferred alternative” that selected replacing the I-5 Bridge. The high-capacity transit component is supposed to be the “most efficient, cost-effective and context-sensitive,” and it could be buses. The light-rail vote was originally scheduled for November 2011, then was deferred until 2012. In July, a new law will allow C-Tran to gerrymander the voting district to a limited sub-district, which could cut out voters in Camas, Washougal, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center, and other county residents.
Vancouver Mayor and C-Tran board member Tim Leavitt signed the C-Tran vote provision but now is not sold on holding a vote. Residents who want to keep their promised light-rail vote should contact their city, county commissioners, and representatives in Congress.