Inslee's transportation plan says CRC has 'broad consensus'

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee recently released his transportation plan, and in it he says he supports replacing the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River with a bridge that includes light rail.

Specifically, his plan on the Columbia River Crossing project is:

“In partnership with Oregon and the U.S. Department of Transportation, we have broad consensus in southwest Washington to build a new bridge that will help with the safety,traffic predictability and economic recovery of Clark County and neighboring Portland. This bridge will provide a crucial link to our region’s economic vitality with an economic impact of over $40 billion. With significant federal involvement and cooperation with Oregon, the eventual replacement should be engineered for multi-modal forms of transportation, from multi-use paths to light rail options that connect people and jobs in a growing regional economic base.”

In his plan, Inslee cites an Oregonian editorial as the source for the $40 billion figure.

Later in his transportation plan, Inslee says the Columbia River must be protected from toxic chemicals entering the waterway through runoff.

“Many Northwest cities are already adopting natural drainage and filtration methods while at the same time enhancing the natural beauty of neighborhoods and city streets,” according to his transportation plan. “With so many massive transportation projects currently under design and construction across the state, the state has an important responsibility to adopt low-impact practices, as well as new technologies and solutions that capture and filter toxic runoff, keeping it from entering our water.”

When Inslee’s opponent, state Attorney General Rob McKenna was in Clark County in March, he told The Columbian 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 in March. “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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