Clark County to seek public input on advisory votes

Proposals include three options for new bridges over Columbia, light rail

By Erik Hidle, Columbian staff writer

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Clark County commissioners will offer a public comment period on six proposed advisory votes before they are sent to the November ballot for voter consideration.

The special hearing is set for 10 a.m. Aug. 5 at the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

The advisory votes being considered include three options for new bridges over the Columbia River, a question regarding light rail as a future transit option, an inquiry on bus rapid transit and a choice to limit the time frame for firework launches in the county.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey has said it will cost between $5,000 and $7,000 for each issue to be placed on the ballot.

All of the votes are nonbinding.

The three bridge options are each being introduced by a different commissioner and, if placed on the ballot, will give voters a chance to give an up or down on each idea.

Commissioner David Madore's bridge proposal seeks voter input on a span in east Clark County at Northeast 192nd Avenue that will connect to Interstate 84 in Oregon.

Commissioner Steve Stuart's bridge proposal asks voters about replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge.

Commissioner Tom Mielke's bridge proposal seeks input on a west county bridge to better connect the region with Highway 26 and Highway 30 in Oregon.

In the case of the bridge choices, the votes will only allow the commissioners to take a policy level stand on the matter; they don't have the authority to design and implement state transportation projects.

"We can't tell (the Washington State Department of Transportation) what to do," Mielke said while discussing the potential votes on Tuesday.

The special meeting gives commissioners an opportunity to finalize language for the votes before the Aug. 6 deadline to place issues on the November ballot.

Erik Hidle: 360-735-4547; http://twitter.com/col_clarkgov; erik.hidle@columbian.com