Gov. Jay Inslee visited Vancouver’s future waterfront park on Wednesday and called it a center of economic expansion that will benefit the entire state.

As Inslee walked along the river, the Interstate-5 bridge loomed in the background.

Inslee said if he’s re-elected he will once again try to gain momentum for replacing the aging bridge.

In the previous two legislative sessions, some Southwest Washington lawmakers tried to create momentum to form a coalition of lawmakers from both sides of the river to revive discussions of a crossing over the Columbia River. The efforts failed.

It’s a project of importance to the entire state, Inslee said on Wednesday, not only Clark County.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, a fierce opponent of the defunct Columbia River Crossing project, has announced he isn’t seeking re-election.

When Inslee was asked whether it might be easier to gain consensus with Benton retiring, the governor replied, “markedly.”

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