Inslee and McKenna on the Columbia River Crossing

The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor made back-to-back visits in Vancouver on Monday and Tuesday, prompting the question: where do the candidates stand on the Columbia River Crossing?

During his Vancouver visit, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee said “it’s absolutely imperative that we move forward” with the proposed project to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.

When it comes to bridge tolling, the Democrat said that’s an issue “the community needs to be heard on,” and that “one way or another, (the CRC) has to be funded.”

Inslee also supports putting a light rail line on the bridge, according to his campaign office.

According to Inslee’s campaign website, he believes transportation infrastructure “plays an incredibly important role in protecting our environment and creating jobs,” and in providing commuters with “safe, reliable and affordable transportation options.”

State Attorney General Rob McKenna didn’t mention the CRC while talking to The Columbian during his latest visit to Vancouver, but he told the paper in mid March that he’s noticed a lack of consensus when it comes to the bridge project.

The Republican said he didn’t have the expertise to favor one design proposal over another, but noted that “tolls can be a component of funding new infrastructure” and light rail is “a good technology.” He also said light rail should be deployed where it makes economic sense and that “voters in the C-Tran taxing district ought to have a say” on the CRC project.

“I’m a strong believer in the value of public transit,” McKenna said last month. “But it has to compete in the market of consumer choices. If you’re just moving people out of buses into trains you’re not achieving much.”

Buses can be part of a more flexible system, McKenna said. They can operate similarly to rail if put into a traffic corridor where they have priority, he said.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or or or

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