From the Trib:
The economic value of reducing congestion on Interstate 5 between Portland and Vancouver is incalculable, but there will be environmental benefits as well. Once a new bridge, interchanges and expanded mass transit are built, tens of thousands of cars will spend less time idling in traffic jams – and less time spewing pollution into the air.
From the O:
Today, freight haulers and the region’s freight-dependent industries can plan their schedules to avoid rush-hour traffic. A few decades hence, that will be impossible. The I-5 bridge will be, for all practical purposes, uncrossable. Freight-dependent industries will choose to expand in regions with swifter, more reliable connections.
Apparently based on assumptions that the this change in capacity has no relationship to the rest of the transportation system (we’ll move the chokepoint to the Rose Quarter), or that development and trip choice patterns won’t respond to the new capacity and simply fill the bridge again (as the I-5 Partnership report warns will happen if land use is not carefully controlled).
Both editorials embrace tolls as part of the funding solution. If we’re willing to go the toll route, why not start now with high-occupancy toll lanes to give freight priority through the crossing outside of peak commute hours?