Letter: Keep the existing bridge



Data in your Columbia River Crossing series ("The Big Divide, April 14-17) show the biggest issues are cost and tolls, light rail and height concerns. This project depends on tolls to pay for about $2.1 billion, which is an undue demand on residents of Portland and Clark County, who will pay the majority of the tolls.

Tolling is not viable for this project to get Washington support. Some local Washington politicians are blind to the impact of the tax-toll burden they want to impose for light rail. This adds little value to Vancouver or Clark County. Making it "easier" to get to Portland has little economic value to Vancouver and Clark County.

The bridge-height issue is resolvable by building the bridge to 125 to 130 feet and adding a lift component for higher vessels. It might not be ascetically pleasing, but it does not restrict future upstream development.

"Mitigation" fees are just short-term payoffs to move the project forward.

The project should consider maintaining the existing bridge and its connections to Hayden Island. Eliminating Hayden Island ramps will result in a less costly design and fewer lanes needed.

Hayden Island businesses will draw their customers wanting to avoid sales taxes.

Mark Swenson, Camas