Pike goes it alone on I-5 bridge bill
In the previous legislative session Southwest Washington lawmakers tried to revive conversations with Oregon about the Interstate 5 Bridge.
They floated a bill to carve out $100,000 for a coalition of lawmakers to sit down and talk about the crossing across the Columbia River.
Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, has been the bill’s most ardent supporter. But she’s garnered support from her fellow Clark County lawmakers. Not anymore.
This legislative session she’s introduced the measure again without any of her Clark County colleagues’ name listed next to her. Pike does have co-sponsors for her bill, including Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, and Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley.
“Unfortunately this is not something that any of the rest of us delegation members were in support of, but she has decided to continue on alone in that effort,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, adding she believes the effort is a waste of time and unlikely to progress.
“But everyone has to do what’s best for their constituents,” she said.
Pike said nothing will be built across the river until the two states work together.
“In many recent conversations with Oregon state legislators, it is clear they want a process, not a project. I agree with them,” Pike said.
Pike has made some tweaks to the measure for the 2017 legislative session.
“While the new version keeps the committee to eight legislators from each state with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, it directs the legislative work group to address not just the I-5 corridor, but to also identify new corridors and develop a 10-year plan, 25-year plan and 50-year plan,” Pike said.
Pike has been a proponent of the controversial third-bridge idea.
The rest of the delegation has expressed a desire to declare replacing the Interstate-5 bridge a project of statewide significance. They are currently drafting legislation.
Pike said she’s open to all ideas.
“Giving up has never been an option. I will support this effort or any other similar bill offered by other legislators so long as it achieves stated objectives to improve freight mobility and relieve congestion with affordable options,” the Camas legislator said.
The goal this session from Sen. Cleveland’s perspective will be striking some measure of consensus on the divisive topic.
“We need the majority of members to support whatever course we agree to, so that’s what we’re going to continue and stay focused on,” Cleveland said.
And apparently that doesn’t entail Pike’s measure.