Lawmakers lobbied to support CRC funding

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer

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CRC funding request letter

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More than a dozen Portland area and Southwest Washington business leaders and politicians sent a letter this week to three U.S. House representatives calling for funding for the Columbia River Crossing.

The letter called on Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer to support the Senate version of surface transportation legislation, which includes funding for Projects of National and Regional Significance.

In it, the writers indicate the difficulty of finding all the money for the $3.5 billion project, which includes a new Interstate 5 Bridge, light rail to Clark College and five miles of highway improvements. The spending plan includes a three-way split between the federal government; Oregon and Washington states; and tolling. The PNRS money would be part of the $400 million to $500 million in discretionary highway spending the project staff is hoping for.

“These ‘mega projects’ are difficult to fund through existing formula programs, which allocate money to states,” the letter reads.”Multi-jurisdictional projects face complex funding issues and have less federal financial assistance programs at their disposal.”

The letter went on to tout what they said would create significant benefits for truck and vehicle transportation, job creation and other improvements.

Herrera Beutler has previously said she supports the PRNS account.

Among the signatories locally were Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart; Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt; and the heads of the Port of Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, and Identity Clark County.