Saturday, May 15, 2021
May 15, 2021

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Clark County coalition calls for transportation package

Group seeks adequate funding for S.W. Washington

By , Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter
Published:

What: Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board

of Directors meeting.

When: 4 p.m. today.

Where: Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Sixth Floor, Vancouver.

A coalition of public and private organizations in Clark County is calling for a “comprehensive revenue package” for the state’s transportation needs, and assurance that adequate money will come back to projects in Southwest Washington.

The Clark County Transportation Alliance’s wish list comes as state lawmakers prepare to kick off the 2015 legislative session next week. The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council will consider endorsing the group’s stance at its meeting Tuesday.

Whether a large transportation package actually materializes in Olympia this year is another question. Efforts to pass one fell short in both 2013 and 2014. Gov. Jay Inslee has pledged to make transportation funding a priority again this year, though the state is already staring at daunting obligations on education and other issues.

The transportation alliance listed 10 local projects it said should be prioritized for state funding. Those include an expansion of the Interstate 5-Mill Plain Boulevard interchange, an expansion of the I-5-Northeast 179th Street interchange, widening state Highway 14 between Interstate 205 and Southeast 164th Avenue, the Pioneer Street rail overpass in Ridgefield and others.

“Critical Clark County and (Southwest) Washington projects need to be included in any project list associated with any new transportation revenue package,” a statement from the group read. Unlike in past years, it did not mention the Columbia River Crossing project, the multibillion-dollar Interstate 5 Bridge replacement plan that was killed by the state Senate last year.

What: Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board

of Directors meeting.

When: 4 p.m. today.

Where: Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Sixth Floor, Vancouver.

In 2013, a proposed transportation package included $450 million for the CRC — a major reason it ultimately failed. In 2014, another version of the package included virtually nothing for Clark County, but again fell short. Both proposals would have been funded largely by a state gas tax increase.

Local leaders have repeatedly said the region continues to be overlooked during recent transportation discussions. When Inslee announced a $12 billion plan last month, a lobbyist who represents Southwest Washington blasted the proposal and said Inslee had “ignored” the area.

The RTC Board of Directors meeting begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday on the sixth floor of the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. in Vancouver.

Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter
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