An April 3 Columbian story “State may look into private bridge funding,” was accurate and balanced. However, it left an impression with some people that I support tolls for the Columbia River Crossing project. As your 18th District state representative, I continue to oppose tolls for this project.
The story focused on Section 204 of the 2011-13 state House transportation budget that would authorize the evaluation of innovative financing methods, including public-private partnerships, for major highway projects such as the CRC. While tolling is one of these concepts, there are others. When the state built an exit off of Interstate 5 in DuPont, a corporate partner helped pay for the project. There was also a proposal to sell development rights to help finance the Alaskan Way Viaduct project.
As a member of the state House Transportation Committee, I understand the challenges of financing infrastructure. Whether it is corporate partnerships, development rights, tolls or new ideas, we should explore various financing options. While I do not support tolls for the CRC, if a majority of state lawmakers ultimately decide on this option, then it should be thoroughly studied and vetted.
You can learn more about my views on the CRC by visiting my legislative website at http://houserepublicans.wa.gov/members/ann-rivers/.