That’s the Sound of the CRC Unravelling



64 responses to “That’s the Sound of the CRC Unravelling”

  1. They can say they oppose it, but will the candidate who wins actually oppose it after they’re sworn in as governor? Or will they be forced to back down to big-money interests?
    Unfortunately, we won’t know until next year.

  2. um, maybe I am retarded here, (sorry Sarah) but what is the supplemental bridge? I clicked the link but it doesn’t help me understand this idea.

  3. Keep the freeway on the current bridges and add a new bridge for Light Rail, bikes, peds and maybe a couple of lanes of arterial traffic (so you don’t have to get on the freeway to go to Hayden Island).

  4. Sigh…..this is a real bummer after seeing the traffic today on I-5. I was on an express bus and it was badly backed up in the other lanes. I ride the express bus because I live a mile from the transit center and the bus stops right at the front door of the building in which I work.

    I keep wondering why people want a supplemental bridge. Freight going from California to Seattle cannot use a supplemental bridge.

    The supplemental bridge is a mistake because most people in Clark county don’t live in or near downtown Vancouver. The only time we go to Hayden Island is to do some shopping. I would say that 95% of my trips to Oregon are to downtown, NE or Beaverton or other places. A supplemental bridge does not get me to those places.

    A bridge from downtown Vancouver to Hayden Island is pointless. I live 5 miles north of the River – I’m not going to drive down HWY 99 and main street to get to Hayden Island when the freeway takes 5 minutes.

    Light rail is also pointless in Clark County because it is slower to ride light rail to downtown Portland than it is to ride an Express bus on I-5. Right now it’s 30 minutes from Expo Center to Pioneer Square in the morning on light rail. You can probably add 5-10 minutes from downtown Vancouver and an additional 5-10 minutes from somewhere else in Clark County (wherever the line ends up going). An express bus from 99th street transit center currently takes about 25 minutes in the morning to downtown, maybe even closer to 20 in good traffic.

    Why would I want to have a longer ride on light rail when C-Tran has very, very nice high-quality express buses that go faster than light rail?

    I am resigned to paying for LR because I want the bridge so badly (kind of like having to buy options you don’t want on a car because it’s the only one of your model on the lot). It’s disappointing to see both of these candidates “dis” the crossing. Hopefully they’re just pandering right now…….

  5. I keep wondering why people want a supplemental bridge. Freight going from California to Seattle cannot use a supplemental bridge.

    The idea is to reduce the load on the Interstate Bridge so it mostly handles interstate traffic. It would connect (hopefully) US-30 to St Johns to the North Portland marine areas, Jantzen Beach, and downtown Vancouver, hopefully removing traffic from those areas from the freeways.

    I used to regularly commute from NW Portland up I-5 and to Vancouver, and there were a lot of trucks I could follow (for gas mileage reasons) from US-30 before the Fremont Bridge all the way across the Interstate Bridge. If they have a bypass to avoid the N Portland segment of I-5 that allows more throughput along the I-5 segment.

    If it helps, imagine if the Ross Island, Hawthorn, Morrison, Steel, Broadway, Sellwood, St Johns and Burnside bridges were removed. That’s similar to what’s happening with forcing all traffic to use I-5 or I-205.

  6. Freight going from California to Seattle cannot use a supplemental bridge.

    Freight going from California to Seattle can use 1-205 and bypass the Interstate Bridge altogether.

  7. Hi Douglas,

    I don’t think that much freight uses i-205 at rush hour because the backups in West Lynn/Sunnyside and from Glisan to Vancouver, plus the extra travel miles, take just as long as the back up on I-5.

    Hi Dave,

    The analogy to the Portland bridges is somewhat off because there are a lot of trips in Portland that start in many different places and end in others. If I’m going from Goose Hollow to Sellwood, I’m not going to use the St. John’s bridge.

    Now this doesn’t mean that the supplemental bridge wouldn’t get traffic. I think that it wouldn’t get nearly as much traffic as people like to think it would get. Some freight enters from the Port of Portland and goes north on I-5, but a lot of commuters (and a lot of freight) have destinations that are not in the St Johns area. I just don’t think that it’s an efficient use of the budget to build a supplemental bridge, when it won’t carry very much traffic for the cost of the bridge. The region will get more utility from adding lanes to a bridge that currently carries a lot of traffic and would continue to do so, even if the supplemental bridge is built.

    Is there any solid data out there about starting and ending points of trips across the I-5 bridge? Short of sticking a GPS unit in everyone’s car, I don’t see how it would be easy to determine the data.

    If data showed that a high percentage of I-5 crossings were to/from Hayden Island and to/from Clark county within a mile or so from the river, then the supplemental bridge might work. Until there’s hard data that shows that, I’m skeptical of the idea.

  8. Vancouver Resident,

    The CRC documentation makes the claim that something like 70-75% of the trips stay within the project area, between Marine Drive and SR 500:

    http://www.columbiarivercrossing.org/Background/FAQ.aspx

    If that’s not enough to convince you, well… I’d have to agree. You can see in that FAQ that they’re making that claim to make it seem unlikely that a major expansion of capacity will adversely impact portland’s already clogged freeways. But that claim rings false to me.

  9. “The CRC documentation makes the claim that something like 70-75% of the trips stay within the project area, between Marine Drive and SR 500:”

    I think its important to understand what this actually means. 70-75% of the traffic either enters or exits I-5 within the influence area. This counts ALL traffic getting on or off SR500 or SR14 as “local to the bridge influence area” whether it is going downtown or to Jantzen Beach.

    No supplemental bridge is going to be a suitable alternative for most of the trips across the I5 bridge, but it doesn’t have to be. The question is whether it serves a significant number of trips, relieving the pressure on I5. I think it will. In fact, one of the concerns with a supplemental bridge was that it would serve too many trips and increase traffic and congestion on the local arterials in Vancouver.

    More important, A supplemental bridge would make living close to downtown Vancouver more desirable, since there would be an alternative that avoids the congestion on I5 that everyone admits will be there even once the new bridge is built. Instead of providing a boost to development in rural Clark County, it would provide a boost to development in Vancouver’s urban core. That development would have the added benefit of making it easier to provide good quality transit.

    The reason the CRC is controversial is that there is no real agreement on what kind of transportation network the region will have. Clark County is auto-dependent and has built a freeway network to support that development. Oregon has built its commercial/industrial centers around a significant number of employees using transit/bikes/walking/local streets for their commute. It has transit and street networks that support those commercial/industrial centers. The supplemental bridge assumes Vancouver will have to accommodate its transportation system to Portland’s job centers. The CRC assumes Portland will have to accommodate its job centers and highway network to become more auto-dependent like Clark County. This really is about the region’s vision of its future which is why there is so much heat generated in the discussion.

  10. On freight. I think it is important to understand that long-haul freight operators have a lot of flexibility to schedule themselves around congestion. But if congestion spreads out over too long a period they can’t work around it. Local freight and delivery operations have far less flexibility.

    Its important to remember however, that very little of the long haul freight is going through Portland. Most is going in and out of the industrial and commercial areas in Portland. Its that freight which is important to the economic health of the region, not trucks passing through. And it is equally sensitive to clogged local arterials in the industrial and commercial centers.

    I believe Vancouver Resident is correct, that most long-haul through-freight does not use I-205, despite that freeway having been built initially to provide an alternative to I5 for through traffic. That ought to be a lesson about how bypasses usually work. Local development quickly fills them up with local traffic, especially during peak commute times.

    Without congestion tolling or some other management scheme, the same thing happens with added capacity. The additional traffic lanes on I5 will fill up as more people who work in Portland move to Clark County.

  11. If it helps, imagine if the Ross Island, Hawthorn, Morrison, Steel, Broadway, Sellwood, St Johns and Burnside bridges were removed. That’s similar to what’s happening with forcing all traffic to use I-5 or I-205.

    This is, essentially, what I told the Vancouver City Council about a week ago. In our early years we had a few bridges ( for the sake of argument, let’s say, two) but now we have twelve over the Willamette. Just having two over the Columbia isn’t enough. Especially with projected population growth.

    Since the western portion of the METRO area is apparently slated to have the most growth, and has had it for the last two decades, it seems that additional capacity over the Columbia should be directed to that area. We do have the SW section served—with Hwy217—-but not too much in the NW. This doesn’t negate the importance of mass transit, alternatives like bicycling, or of a local connector to Hayden Island. It just is a realistic way of meeting both present demands and future projections.

    I know that the I-5 has always had a certain amount of congestion. But it reached an intolerable level with the spurt of development in the Beaverton-Hillsboro area beginning in the late 1980’s. This added a whole, new component of commuter traffic—some of it going to various destinations in the metro. area but a rapidly increasing sum going to Vancouver and Clark Co.

    Regionally, the big stories are: job, business and employment growth in Washington County and population growth in Clark Co. I think connecting the two can be done in a discrete, environmentally sensitive fashion and it would alleviate enough congestion on I-5 to forestall for many decades the mammoth reconstruction plans for that route, which have been discussed in various official quarters. The CRC has been only a portion of that discussion.

    Also, this has been a symbiotic relationship. Clark Co, is short on good paying jobs. But, in commuting to Oregon, it’s residents also have been giving our state a lot of revenue. Approx. $150 million per year as per recent figures.

  12. “this added a whole, new component of commuter traffic—some of it going to various destinations in the metro. area but a rapidly increasing sum going to Vancouver and Clark Co.”

    That isn’t what the surveys show. There is VERY little existing traffic across the I5 bridge with destination/origination in Washington County.

    “But, in commuting to Oregon, it’s residents also have been giving our state a lot of revenue.”

    I think this is a bit misleading. The jobs produce the revenue, regardless of where the person doing it goes home. The pattern of bedroom suburb with few jobs, remote from employment centers, is not one that should receive encouragement through huge public subsidies.

    There are good reasons for Washington County to be trying to increase the use of transit and other alternatives. Its arterial and highway system is struggling to keep up with the growth in traffic. Adding a new wave of traffic from Vancouver is no more desirable in Washington County than it is in Portland. Eventually all the traffic will kill the Golden Goose that produces all those jobs.

    And there is no “discreet” way to put a freeway through Forest Park.

  13. “Is there any solid data out there about starting and ending points of trips across the I-5 bridge? Short of sticking a GPS unit in everyone’s car, I don’t see how it would be easy to determine the data.”

    There are a variety of surveys used for determining destinations and origins of trips. So yes, there is solid data out there.

  14. That isn’t what the surveys show. There is VERY little existing traffic across the I5 bridge with destination/origination in Washington County.
    Actually the surveys do show that a lot of Clark Co. residents do work in Washington Co. Perhaps the ones you are referring to are old. The $150 million/an revenue (as per Commissioner Stuart) is coming from employment SOMEWHERE in Oregon . WashCo has been the fastest growing area. There have been articles about it, too.

    I have personally observed the exit to US 26 Westbound from the Stadium Freeway S. bound. Probably 20 percent Washington plates. (disclaimer: Not scientific)

    I think this is a bit misleading. The jobs produce the revenue, regardless of where the person doing it goes home. The pattern of bedroom suburb with few jobs, remote from employment centers, is not one that should receive encouragement through huge public subsidies.

    Misleading….how? The jobs may be in Oregon. But the workers are Washingtonians. What is misleading about it? Chase those workers back to Washington and you would have to fill the positions with Oregonians to sustain the revenue to the State. Sounds good, but then you would have local planning headaches—-and subsidies, too. At least based upon how we have been responding to population growth.

    And there is no “discreet” way to put a freeway through Forest Park.
    I don’t know if there is a need for a freeway. Traffic can travel at relatively fast rates even on two lane hwys. So perhaps something in between the two. And through Forest Park? What’s the problem? We have lots of trees in the NW. Or, some have suggested a tunnel. There is a route already with a two lane road, so making this a decent roadway for commuters seems a no-brainer. This route also shaves five miles off the Vancouver-Hillsboro trek (over the I-5 and US 26 path) making it more attractive for bicyclists and buses, too.

    There are good reasons for Washington County to be trying to increase the use of transit and other alternatives. Its arterial and highway system is struggling to keep up with the growth in traffic. Adding a new wave of traffic from Vancouver is no more desirable in Washington County than it is in Portland. Eventually all the traffic will kill the Golden Goose that produces all those jobs.

    I agree with the spirit of this. I am not really in favor of the “Growth Agenda” our officials seem to believe in. But since they keep talking about two million new people arriving here, and since they have already mapped out their preferred growth patterns, I was just citing a solution that meets 90 per cent of the generally expressed Columbia crossing issues, and saves a lot of money at the same time. Unfortunately, our mayor, Sam Adams, has not been especially forthcoming about what he knows about Portland area traffic projections. Following his suggestions will prove to be outstandingly expensive, since there is a lot more to I-5 trouble than what is currently being aired in CRC discussions.

  15. “The $150 million/an revenue (as per Commissioner Stuart) is coming from employment SOMEWHERE in Oregon .”

    Sure it is. All along the Columbia Corridor, Swan Island, the Lloyd Center, Central Eastside Industrial area, the airport… there are huge number of jobs in Oregon close to Clark County. That is what drives Clark County real estate development.

    Of course a new freeway to Washington County would open up a whole new market for the bedroom communities in Clark County. But right now, Washington County is too far away to have much impact.

    Commissioner Stuart is a Washington politician who is just repeating the myth that the revenue comes from “Washington”. It doesn’t. The revenue comes from an Oregon business. Those employers’ paychecks are paying all those taxes. That the employee sleeps in Washington is basically irrelevant. They don’t earn anything while they are sleeping.

    Oregon workers pay taxes on the income they earn in Oregon no matter where they live. There is nothing special about the Clark County residents in that regard. Even people who are citizens of other countries pay those taxes on money they earn while working in Oregon.

    “And through Forest Park? What’s the problem? We have lots of trees in the NW.”

    Get real. That ends this conversation.

  16. I guess if we don’t need a highway on the westside, then we should never have had one to the east of I-5, either, (Although hundreds of thousands of area residents would likely disagree). I know some may propose a freeway there but I didn’t.

    “And through Forest Park? What’s the problem? We have lots of trees in the NW.”
    Get real. That ends this conversation.

    I don’t give two hoots if they widen a road through Forest Park. Now, when they built a bridge across a sublime natural wonder like the Golden Gate—-now, that was a travesty. Sure ’nuff.

  17. Actually, a route we have been looking at doesn’t even go through Forest Park and wouldn’t seize any private property, either, except perhaps some very small portions near the roadway. Hope that lets you sleep easier.

  18. Any road or rail crossing west of the Hyden Island Columbia River rail bridges would have to accommodate ocean going ships, which means either 200 or more feet of clearance above water or a tunnel.

    Connecting the new road to Vancouver and Beaverton/Hillsboro would require condemning at least one row of lots and structures adjacent to the route to widen the connections to handle the additional traffic. Reducing the environmental impact by using more tunnels and bridges as opposed to cuts and fills would increase the cost over similar projects elsewhere.

    Financing a 3.6 or 4.5 billion dollar CRC is proving difficult. Financing a much more expensive project ($10 billion perhaps) would be even harder.

    Plus this idea has been studied to multiple times, and each time the results are the Westside bypass would serve relatively few people. And across the US, highway investment poorly correlates with congestion levels.

    Tolling in some form is the only reliable way to control congestion. Free roads induce demand in the same way that free pizza dramatically increases the demand for pizza.

    While looking for more Westside bypass info, I came across this old blog entry ,that I edited for space
    “April 16, 2007 2:29 PM
    Ross Williams Says:

    Do you have an example of a city that failed because it invested too much in transit? I don’t think there are any. In fact, I don’t think you will find a single city where people complain there is too much transit use.
    …”
    Reading the rest of the thread containing the quote above, no one named a city where this had happened.

  19. Tom G,

    Good point about transit use; sort of the flip side to a point Gordon Price often makes:

    “Gordon Price: I simply ask people: show me the example where this has worked. All I want is for a working example of a city that has built its way out of congestion simply by building more roads, and then is that the place you want to be? I don’t get an answer to A or B.

    Peter Mares: You mean, there’s never been a city that’s managed to fix congestion by building more freeways or more roads?

    Gordon Price: You might argue that Houston, Texas has. They throw about $1-billion a year into it, they do keep the traffic moving. Do people want to be like Houston? Can you be like Houston? Are you prepared to spend that amount of money and is that really the kind of city that you want in the end? And they have to run as fast as they can just to keep where they are. And they’re looking at transit too!

    —Gordon Price (Transport Planner, Vancouver, Canada), ABC radio interview, February 2007”

    I found that quote here: http://www.ptua.org.au/myths/congestion.shtml

  20. Tom G.
    All of your points above are wrong. Where did you happen to find them? Where did you get Westside Bypass, anyway? From the CLF?

    Finn,
    Vancouver BC is in a category with cities like New York, Miami or San Diego. There are no other urban centers further in that direction so interstate highways tend to make less sense. I don’t know if people who criticize my point of view want to label me as a freeway advocate (nothing could be less true) but I do know we live in the midst of an interstate corridor that is part of a rapidly growing region and we inevitably will have more traffic going through our town to get elsewhere in the I-5 corridor.

    I hope we do get more rail moving on freight. Have you seen any plan for THAT? Gosh, I must have missed it.

  21. Any road or rail crossing west of the Hyden Island Columbia River rail bridges would have to accommodate ocean going ships, which means either 200 or more feet of clearance above water or a tunnel.

    A non-lift bridge, yes. Why can’t a supplemental bridge be a lift bridge though?

    Connecting the new road to Vancouver and Beaverton/Hillsboro would require condemning at least one row of lots and structures adjacent to the route to widen the connections to handle the additional traffic.

    Really? I’d need a citation on that, since looking at property maps it could be done without condemning many (if any) structures. What corridors are you including?

    Financing a 3.6 or 4.5 billion dollar CRC is proving difficult. Financing a much more expensive project ($10 billion perhaps) would be even harder.

    With phased implementation why would it cost that much up front? Actually, why would it cost that way anyway? Can you cite some numbers for how you with came up with $10 billion?

    Tolling in some form is the only reliable way to control congestion.

    Again, really? Other cities have been able to build their way out of bottlenecks. Why can’t Portland? Saying tolling is the “only” solution is absurd, there are other solutions if we look for them. Maybe we don’t like them, but that doesn’t make tolling the “only” solution.

    Peter Mares: You mean, there’s never been a city that’s managed to fix congestion by building more freeways or more roads?

    We’re not an endpoint city. San Diego has invested in roads, and reduced/at minimum maintained congestion on the roads they’ve worked on. Houston and Austin also come to mind as cities that have improved congestion by building freeways. Niagara Falls NY actually has removed some because they built too many.

    Buffalo NY has modified some freeways because they built too many, and are looking at moving toll booths farther from the city to reduce congestion. It’s one of the biggest freight bottlenecks in North America even. Yeah, their biggest problem with traffic is vehicles waiting at toll booths.

    But tolls are the solution to all of our problems, apparently.

  22. I think people need to be clear about what “supplemental bridge” they are talking about.

    One idea is a new freeway/major arterial all the way from Clark County to Hillsboro that would include a new bridge over the Columbia west of the existing railroad bridge. It is the northern part of what used to be called the Western Bypass, since the idea was to also connect Hillsboro to I5 near Wilsonville. The arguments for both segments are the same, they will connect some part of the region directly to jobs in Hillsboro. The arguments against them are the same too, neither one would actually serve very many existing trips. They would both encourage people to move further from work to auto-dependent communities without other transportation options.

    There are also proposals for a supplemental local bridge to the east of the railroad crossing. It would handle local traffic (including freight between the ports), transit, bikes and pedestrians. This could be a lift bridge. The trip origination and destination studies show this would serve a significant number of existing trips – perhaps too many.

  23. Dave,

    Yes, tolls are the solution to all of our (traffic) problems. Put a tax on pepperoni and you’ll see less pepperoni eaten.

    Time-based congestion tolling smooths the congestion peaks, encourages people to pool, and makes money available for transit and roadway improvements.

    I personally do think we need to update the bridge for safety reasons (no shoulders, pretty narrow lanes, the “zig” at the north end, 14 intersecting 17 inches from the bridge head and Jantzen Beach dumping cars in 17 inches from the south end).

    But the enormous increase in capacity proposed is stupid; the light rail portion makes no sense given the lack of density in Clark County and the slow Yellow Line ride; and the damage to Jantzen Beach is the worst sort of highway imperialism.

    A new four lane bridge (including the “slip” ramps to and from Vancouver) with dedicated peak direction HOV lanes with permanent time-based tolling would serve the corridor for a twenty years and then the other half of the bridge could replace the existing ones when the 1917 span will be 115 years old.

    Once the new southbound bridge was completed, the existing bridges would be restriped so they have shoulders, and the southernmost span of the 1917 structure (the part above riverbank) could be replaced with a wider span to allow a decent acceleration lane from JB. At the same time, the northernmost span (the one north of the lift) could also be widened to make the transition to 14 smoother.

    It’s a project of a more appropriate scale and given the economic outlook for the US likely to be all we’ll need. Remember that most of the projected population growth in the country by 2050 was to have been the result of immigration, either direct or by the larger families immigrants have. As the US economic “miracle” fades in relation to the rest of the world, more people will decide to stay in their native countries while at the same time Americans will have even fewer children.

    I doubt we’ll reach 450 million people by 2050 as projected because of these economic changes.

    So far as the truck freight, it seems to me that using the median of 205 between I-5 and the bridge head and then from 84 to just north of Oregon City for dedicated toll truck only lanes makes the most sense. A new small bridge and parallel lanes would be necessary between 14 and 84 to bridge the congested area and a truck only two lane highway that leaves I-205 just south of Johnson City, loops around Oregon City and Canby then cuts over the I-5 would take Cal-Seattle/Vancouver trucks completely out of the mess to the degree that they’d gladly pay the toll.

    There simply isn’t enough truck freight originating from and destined to the ports of Vancouver and Portland to worry about. Our ports primarily serve bulk commodities that move by rail. Yes, of course, there’s some “freight all kinds” and a little container business, but even that is largely rail related. We’re simply too small a market to have merchandise directed to our port.

  24. The arguments against them are the same too, neither one would actually serve very many existing trips. They would both encourage people to move further from work to auto-dependent communities without other transportation options.

    However, this bridge could also do what you describe in the third paragraph of your statement. Other benefits, depending upon certain design features, could be: Improve long distance and freight rail service; contain an interstate light rail or streetcar that would serve more of a growing Vancouver, WA, core area than the current LPA proposal; reduce by 5 miles VMT between Vancouver and Hwy 26; eliminate an unsafe condition for river pilots; have its own recreational facilities; get Washington-bound US Highway 30 traffic off the Fremont Bridge or out of neighborhoods; get Washington bound US 26 west traffic out of downtown Portland; be more seismically safe than the CRC proposal; facilitate port expansion on Hayden Island. Have I left anything out?

    Also we need to make decision not only on “existing trips” but travel that will likely arise as industrialization plans proceed in the Metropolitan area. Just looking at METRO’s maps, it seems most urban reserve areas will be west of the Willamette. I am not in favor of rapid growth in the Portland area—-but we also should be looking several decades ahead.
    As far as this being the northern half of the Western Bypass, I believe that was further to the west in both Oregon and Washington. To find a similar metropolitan region in the US that has only two interstate highways over a large water barrier one has to go to Memphis, TN—a smaller city with virtually no suburban population across the water. Cincinatti, OH, a comparable region, has four interstate crossings. Confining interstate traffic to two routes, as in Portland, will mean added congestion in the long run, since we must contend not only with regional demands but also the fact that we are in the middle of a busy corridor..

  25. Yes, tolls are the solution to all of our (traffic) problems.

    Unlikely. I’ve lived in areas with tolls, and the tolls shift traffic congestion to other routes or cause congestion, even with things like E-ZPass or FasTrak. That or they don’t cover their own costs because they’re overpriced and go unused. I see adding tolls to enter Oregon as having two likely possible outcomes:

    1) We price them too low and nobody cares. We still have bad traffic issues, and just spent a lot of money to achieve relatively nothing other than generating revenue to pay off the mistake.

    2) We price them too high and people move to Oregon or find work elsewhere. This option would hurt a lot of businesses in Clark County (if their population declines), or the entire region if businesses decide it’s too hard to find employees they want. That and we have to then invest in infrastructure on this side of the river to accommodate these people, as would have increased local costs due to a higher local population with the same tax revenue we already get from them.

    As a side effect if we price tolls too high we’ll probably see a lot of non-commercial traffic from north of Clark County skipping the toll by using Longview, the Lewis and Clark Bridge, and US-30. Again, it just shifts the problem. When I went to college in NY state it was fairly common to put up with bad traffic and take a slower route just to avoid the (as we perceived them) overpriced tolls.

    For other points you made, I-205 is good for connecting I-84 to I-5, but not for bypassing I-5. It’s a significantly longer route, and we already charge trucks by mileage in this state.

    At the same time, the northernmost span (the one north of the lift) could also be widened to make the transition to 14 smoother.

    As I understand it almost any widening of the existing bridges would be about as expensive and disruptive as just replacing them.

    It seems to me that adding another bridge to relieve some of the pressures on the existing bridge is probably going to give us the most benefits for the cost. Clark County as a whole isn’t too dense, but the areas around downtown Vancouver are. Adding more access from those areas to North Portland may not immediately change things but is more of a long term thing.

    Even shifting 10% of the Interstate Bridge’s current traffic away would likely help improve predictable travel times on I-5 a lot.

    Also, as Ron mentioned I’m hard pressed to find another region of our size that has only seven directional lanes of traffic connecting a very large part of the region. The only close comparisons I can find are international borders with much lower vehicle counts, and most of those are in the process of being upgraded.

  26. “ther benefits, depending upon certain design features, could be:”

    None of the things you describe would result from any bridge. They would require a huge number of other investments.

    “Improve long distance and freight rail service;”

    No, it couldn’t – not unless you make major investments in the rest of the rail system. The bridge is simply not the major bottleneck for rail, in much the same way I5 isn’t the real bottleneck for freight. Whatever changes you make in the bridge crossing will have little, if any, impact on freight movement.

    “contain an interstate light rail or streetcar that would serve more of a growing Vancouver, WA, core area than the current LPA proposal;”

    To what purpose? There is nothing for it to connect to on the Oregon side. You would need to extend the Yellow line several miles to the west just to connect to it.

    “reduce by 5 miles VMT between Vancouver and Hwy 26;”

    Very few people make this trip now, why would we want invest huge sums of money to encourage more?

    “eliminate an unsafe condition for river pilots;”

    I am not sure how ANOTHER bridge would eliminate the unsafe conditions created by the existing bridges.

    “have its own recreational facilities;”

    A ballpark maybe? I am not sure what you are talking about.

    “get Washington-bound US Highway 30 traffic off the Fremont Bridge or out of neighborhoods;”

    Again, the actual number of trips this involves is miniscule. The neighborhoods would benefit from a new bridge across the Willamette from North Portland to Highway 30, not across the Columbia.

    “get Washington bound US 26 west traffic out of downtown Portland;”

    Again – what traffic is that? There isn’t much.

    “be more seismically safe than the CRC proposal;”

    I have no idea why you believe it would be any more seismically safe than any other new bridge.

    “facilitate port expansion on Hayden Island.”

    The Port needs some reason to expand first. The thing stopping expansion on Hayden Island is any feasible business plan.

    Have I left anything out?

    Sure – “Depending on its design features” there are also lot of negative consequences and huge costs for a bridge that accomplishes half of what you claim as “possible”.

    But you aren’t really talking about a bridge. You seem to talking about at least two new bridges (the second being across the Willamette) and a major new freeway. The major purpose for that seems to be to make it easier for people to live in Clark County and drive to work in Washington County. That is not something that should be encouraged.

  27. “ust looking at METRO’s maps, it seems most urban reserve areas will be west of the Willamette.”

    One last comment. I think you are looking at the wrong maps. Most of the development within the existing urban growth boundary is targeted at Clackamas County – specifically Damascus. This includes plans for job development. That is going to require major investments in transportation infrastructure. Until those investments to support development in Damascus and the surrounding communities are made, massive new investment in infrastructure to support more development in Clark County doesn’t seem to make much sense.

  28. Dave –

    I think you are confusing general tolls and congestion pricing. With congestion pricing tolls are varied to maintain a certain level of traffic on the bridge at times of peak congestion.

    There are a number of ways people avoid the high cost of the toll. One is that they share the cost by car-pooling. Another is that people who have the flexibility shift their trips to cheaper times of the day.

    But you are right, there are broader impacts. Congestion pricing will make living in Oregon close to your Oregon job more desirable than moving to Clark County. It encourages people who live in Clark County to work and shop in Clark County. In short, it reduces the amount of traffic across the bridge and in the region.

    But there are “winners” and “losers” in that process. Early in the CRC process, Metro did an evaluation of the impact of any new bridge capacity on property values. Not surprisingly, Clark County property values went up relative to what they would be without more capacity. And Oregon property values went down.

    In the long run though, I think everyone benefits when people drive less and still get access to employment, services and recreation.

  29. Just Saying,
    You seem pretty conversant about this issue–at least from your point of view—why don’t you tell us who you are?

    For answers to at least some of your points on a new interstate bridge, try going to ThirdBridgeNow.com

    Actually, I don’t see a problem with Clark Co. people commuting to work in Oregon; it has been bringing us, and will bring us more, tax revenue. Presently about $150 m per year. And I don’t have a problem with them shopping here either. It provides jobs and profits.

    The map I am referring to came out this past fall in the Greatest Place discussions of METRO. There have also been articles about potential urban reserve areas in the Hillsboro/ Cornelius/ Forest Grove area. I am aware that the Clackamas/ Gladstone/ Oregon City area has big plans, too. Yet the infrastructure is a lot better than in NW Portland.

    In the long run though, I think everyone benefits when people drive less and still get access to employment, services and recreation. Certainly is a fine ideal, However, I don’t think the supplemental I-5 bridge some are proposing for transportation alternatives will be nearly adequate in the long term. We can still have those alternatives—or reasonable facsimiles–on a third bridge.

  30. “it has been bringing us, and will bring us more, tax revenue. Presently about $150 m per year”

    No, it doesn’t. As I explained above, the income taxes are paid by anyone doing that job and Oregon gets the tax revenue whether the person lives and sleeps in Clark County or in Oregon.

    “I don’t see a problem with Clark Co. people commuting to work in Oregon;”

    That is the reason we are talking about a $4 billion dollar bridge – isn’t that a big enough problem? Its not that they commute, its that they drive their own vehicles and live in spread out development where it is not cost effective to provide or use transit.

    I realize what maps you are referring to. The point is that the location of “urban reserves” is all but irrelevant to this discussion. There is a lot of area already within the UGB designated for development in need of transportation infrastructure.

    “ThirdBridgeNow.com”

    That “third bridge” is a lot more than just a bridge. Its actually two new bridges, plus a viaduct across most of downtown Vancouver. And it does not connect to Washington County at all except over existing local roads which can’t handle their current traffic volumes. Given your claims for it, you clearly see the web site as Phase I of a much larger project.

  31. One last comment. I think you are looking at the wrong maps. Most of the development within the existing urban growth boundary is targeted at Clackamas County – specifically Damascus.

    Not from what I’ve seen. Most of them are in the southern parts of the Metro area, or the western parts. See also this from Metro’s archives. February of this year. Nothing near I-205 until you get to about Gladstone.

    I think you are confusing general tolls and congestion pricing. With congestion pricing tolls are varied to maintain a certain level of traffic on the bridge at times of peak congestion.

    Congestion pricing is how I-15’s express lanes in San Diego work. I lived near it during the pilot program. Specifically I lived in Mira Mesa, the south end of the I-15 HOT lanes was about 2 miles south at the CA-163 interchange. I used them occasionally, but usually the cost wasn’t worth it, so to avoid congestion and/or paying, I’d take Kearney Villa Road to Black Mountain Road to shortcut it.

    The road, according to SANDAG (the San Diego County version of Metro) was earning less than expected and wasn’t make the profit tolls were projected to for expanding the system. Several projects were pushed from the original TransNet program in large part due to the I-15 HOT lanes not generating the expected revenues and going over cost, and they ended up closing the HOT lanes on off peak/weekend hours because they cost too much to pay for police to enforce toll payment. (They are still used off-peak for emergency uses, such as fire evacuations.) That’s a failure of congestion management tolling.

    What happened? People found other routes. It may have been 9+ miles out of their way, but they just drove more to avoid the toll. Or they took the toll free lanes and chose to sit in traffic. Other people decided it was worth the risk, since there wasn’t enough CHP available to do enforcement the risk of skipping the toll was low enough it was worth doing.

    Or I can bring up OCTA (Orange County Toll Authority) CA-73, aka the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road. Last I heard it was losing money on the 12 mile toll stretch, so they were raising tolls. Apparently it’s now $5.50 on-peak, $4.75 of peak, $4.50 on weekends. (Subtract $.75 if you have FasTrak, which costs $1/month.) They’re still losing money from the latest articles I can find, apparently raising prices just scared away even more drivers.

    So, no. I don’t think I’m confusing congestion tolls with anything. They just don’t work as well as people claim.

    If we plan tolling correctly I don’t see it as being a problem as a revenue source to pay for a new bridge, but to expect it to manage traffic assumes there won’t be any response by residents other than to change driving patterns. They have other options that can cost us a lot more.

  32. “See also this from Metro’s archives.”

    As I said, you are looking at the wrong map. Urban reserves are OUTSIDE the UGB. Most of the land scheduled for development is already within the UGB.

    “I used them occasionally, but usually the cost wasn’t worth it”

    That is the way its supposed to work – people stop making trips that aren’t “worth it” or find an alternative to using the bridge when tolls are high. Of course, there are no real alternative “shortcuts” to I5/I205 for most of the people living in Clark County and working in Oregon. Their options are to change the time of day they drive, car pool, use transit, move to Oregon or find a job in Washington. All of those are more desirable, from a public standpoint, than their continuing to drive by themselves and create congestion not only on I5 but at their destinations.

    “So, no. I don’t think I’m confusing congestion tolls with anything.”

    I think you are since you talk about whether the tolls “losing money”. But the purpose of congestion pricing is not to raise money, its to manage traffic and reduce congestion.

    One of the problems with the tolls in the CRC proposal is that they are supposed to generate revenue. At the same time Rex and others seem to think they are going to be allowed to experiment with congestion pricing.

    To do congestion pricing you will often have to leave revenue on the table. As you point out, at some point raising the toll at one time while leaving it lower at another results in less revenue as people shift their behavior. You can’t really do that if the revenue is needed to pay for the bridge. As your comments make clear, the public isn’t going to understand why you are raising the tolls and “losing money”.

    There is little doubt that congestion pricing on the existing bridges could remove the congestion. The problem is political.

  33. Greetings all and Happy Easter if you celebrate the holiday.

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of the different posts on this topic, especially because while we all have different opinions, we can back them up with facts and make good arguments. After reading other message boards on the Internet and their almost always lack of decorum and lack of rational argument, it is refreshing to see some solid debate using coherent arguments.

    Here’s my little argument about the $150 mil in Oregon taxes paid by us Clarkers (Clarkies? What is the term for a resident of Clark County?): The state of OR should be very grateful that they receive this money from WA residents. $150 mil in tax revenue from us is much better than $150 mil in tax revenue from an Oregon resident. I pay several thousand bucks a year in Oregon income tax (revenue to the state), but I cost the state of Oregon very little. I don’t send my kid to a public school in OR. I don’t take health benefits on the OR health plan. I won’t send my kid to an Oregon university (no way I can afford paying out-of-state tuition).

    When a WA resident pays OR income tax, the state of OR probably gets to keep about 90% (a guess on my part) of the revenue in a “profit margin” of 90%.

    So to reply to “Just Saying” – In my analysis, the state of OR is better off collecting $150 mil from WA residents than from OR residents. We don’t cost the state much in services, but we give the state a lot of revenue in taxes.

    Of course in the context of the entire OR state budget, $150 mil isn’t much, but every $ counts these days.

  34. “I cost the state of Oregon very little.”

    Where do you think that money comes from? That business that created the job you have uses a lot of Oregon services. If it weren’t for all the infrastructure paid for with Oregon taxes you probably wouldn’t have a job at all.

    And you don’t pay at all for a lot of the services you use. Local streets are mostly funded by property taxes you don’t pay. So are police and fire protection. So are local schools. You don’t have any kids in the schools? Neither do I. What makes you special?

    You notice the taxes that pay for any public service you don’t use, but take for granted all the services you do use and don’t pay taxes for. Its a great political argument for Clark County politicians, but it has almost zero merit.

  35. Just Saying:

    First, let me clarify. By “state of OR”, I mean “OR state government”.

    Here’s my rebuttal to your arguments:

    1. The business that uses Oregon services pays Oregon income tax. If it’s not a tax paying entity (e.g. an LLC), then its owner pays Oregon income tax on the business’ profit.

    2. The police, local streets, etc. are paid by property taxes imposed on the business, or actually by the landlord that then charges rent to the business. The taxes are paid to local entities and the services are provided by local entities, not the state of OR. The building owner pays for that infrastructure, not the business. If the infrastructure wasn’t there, you’re correct I would be working somewhere else. I would still have a job, just not in that location.

    My employment in that location makes the building more desirable and worth more (a full building is worth more than an empty building). This boosts the value of the building, which boosts the property taxes on the building, which results in more revenue to local government.

    3. Since I live in Clark County, I don’t have any children enrolled in Oregon schools. About 50% of the funding for Oregon schools comes from the state of OR. I am paying taxes that support OR local schools in every school district in the state.

    4. The services that I use are the following: local streets, I-5, the chance of calling a policeman or fire department for an emergency and water and sewer (paid by fees, not taxes). These are funded by property taxes, other than I-5.

    5. Again, if I pay the state government of Oregon $5,000 a year an income taxes, how much does the state government pay for services I use? I have no kids in OR schools, I cannot be on the OR health plan, I cannot pay in-state tuition for OR universities. I suppose that I am safe during the day because I am not being robbed by inmates in the OR correction facility. But it’s also the same for OR residents that work in WA, but they pay no taxes (other than sales taxes if they buy food at a restaurant in WA).

    My point is that us WA residents have a very high margin for the state of OR. We pay tax at the OR resident rate, but we do not cost the state the same level of expenses as an OR resident. The state collects more from us than it pays to support us. Therefore, we are a net benefit to the OR state government.

    It’s simple accounting. Profit = revenue – expenses. The revenue is the same for my job, regardless of where I live. However the expenses are lower because I live in WA, therefore the state government gets higher profits on non-resident employment than it does on resident employment.

  36. If it weren’t for all the infrastructure paid for with Oregon taxes you probably wouldn’t have a job at all.

    So, they use the infrastructure to get them roughly 10-20 miles into the state, a lot of it on an Interstate Highway system that was built with federal funds and gas tax money. What about the other 99,000 square miles in the State of Oregon? Are you going to figure that, too?

    If they are buying gasoline in Oregon, they are paying for road usage. The additional income tax should generously cover the rest.

    Aren’t there taxes on other things they might buy in Oregon? Not a retail sales tax, but other taxes that get worked in?

  37. “Aren’t there taxes on other things they might buy in Oregon? Not a retail sales tax, but other taxes that get worked in?” (Sorry, I don’t know how to quote in italic)

    Cigarettes and alcohol, fishing license (but that’s a fee, not a tax). Here’s one I buy a lot – Oregon sno-parks.

  38. “So, they use the infrastructure to get them roughly 10-20 miles into the state,”

    No, they use the infrastructure to earn all that money they take back and spend in Washington. And they are complaining about the small percentage they have to leave behind …

  39. “Since I live in Clark County, I don’t have any children enrolled in Oregon schools.”

    Neither do I. So what?

    “The services that I use are the following:”

    You also use our land use system, our zoning, our building inspectors, our court system, prisons … what services don’t you use? Besides the local schools, which you seem to think only serve people who have kids in them. Where are the savings? I think they are mostly in your imagination.

    You might not have noticed, but just a little less than half the jobs that support people in Clark County are in Oregon. There is a reason for that.

  40. “First, let me clarify. By “state of OR”, I mean “OR state government”.”

    Which is very convenient. You complain about paying taxes to the state while ignoring the local taxes you avoid by moving to Clark County. You get those services free of charge. There is a saying for this:

    “Whats yours is ours, what’s mine is mine.”

  41. @Vancouver Resident

    Thiis a little hard to write in the comments because if I do it correctly you won’t see the code. But check out
    this site
    for a quick tutorial.

    As much as folks might disagree here, I think both JK and Al learned a bit of HTML coding here ;-). Happy Easter everyone.

  42. Thanks for the help Aaron. I appreciate it.

    Just Saying – This is probably going to be my last post on this topic since you’re not grasping the accounting in the situation of WA residents working in OR. There is nothing in my argument that says “what’s yours is ours and what’s mine is mine”.

    To summarize: As a WA resident, I pay income taxes at the OR resident rate, but I don’t get OR resident services. Therefore, the state of OR earns more money from me working in OR than it does from an OR resident working in OR. It is impossible for me to cost the OR state government more money than an OR resident costs the state government, but we both pay the exact amount in income tax from our wages.

    My comment about schools shows that I am saving the state of OR money by living in WA. Just as you are saving the state of OR money by not having a child enrolled in public school. Just as home school parents save the state of OR money or parents of children in private school. It’s the same as people who are not in prison – we save the state money because the state isn’t paying us to be in prison.

    My argument on schools is simply that it shows how the state of OR makes more profit on my taxes than it would if I lived in OR, because if I did live in OR my child would be in public school in OR. It isn’t a judgment of if it’s morally good or not. It’s simple accounting: There is less cost for the state of OR because I live in WA than there would be if I lived in the state of OR.

    Secondly, the arguments about costing money for local services are specious because there are hundreds of thousands of Oregonians that have the exact situation as I do.

    If I live in Hillsboro, but work in Portland, the cost to provide services to me as a Portland worker are the exact same as me being a WA resident working in Portland (baring any local costs for the I-5 bridge, which are very small I think). Hillsboro residents that work in Portland do not pay Portland or Multnomah county property taxes, yet they walk on Portland sidewalks and call Portland police if they are in trouble at work. This is the same for WA residents that work in Portland. It is also the same for OR residents that work in WA.

    The cost of providing local services is from property taxes, not state income taxes. Portland businesses pay rent and the building owner pays property taxes. These taxes go towards providing local services, such as roads and such, that the workers in the building use.

    Again, workers from Wilsonville who commute to Portland cost the city and county just as much money as I do. I could drive from Vancouver or drive from Tigard, it would be the same costs for Portland and Mulnomah county. But by living in Vancouver and enrolling kids in the Tigard school district and not sending my kids to Oregon state universities, I cost the OR state government less money than if I lived in Tigard.

    I’m not complaining. I’m not boasting. I’m just showing the math that I pay the same amount in STATE taxes, but cost less in STATE services. And the local cost of my employment are mitigated by the property taxes on the building in which I work. These costs are the same for any commuter that travels to another county to work.

  43. Sorry for the typos above. Second from last paragraph should have read “But by living in Vancouver and enrolling kids in the Tigard school district…..”

  44. Arrgh! The typo happened again due to my poor understanding of HTML.

    Should have read “But by living in Vancouver and NOT enrolling kids in the Tigard school district…..”

  45. “As a WA resident, I pay income taxes at the OR resident rate, but I don’t get OR resident services.”

    Of course you do. You get more services than some Oregon residents who pay Oregon taxes.

    “My comment about schools shows that I am saving the state of OR money by living in WA”

    I suppose, the same way I and hundreds of thousands of other Oregonians are saving the state of OR money by not having children in the public schools. Everyone saves the state money, since no one uses every service the state provides. Again, what makes you special?

    “the arguments about costing money for local services are specious because there are hundreds of thousands of Oregonians that have the exact situation as I do.”

    Again what is your point? That taxes aren’t a fee for service? I agree. There is no direct relationship between the taxes anyone pays and the cost of the services they personally receive. There are hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who pay taxes and are in exactly the same situation you are.

    But lets be clear, unlike those Oregonians, you are also taking a large sum of money out of the local Oregon economy. If that money stayed in Oregon, some of it would have been paid to Oregon employees, who would have paid Oregon income taxes on it. Some of that money would have been used to pay local property taxes. So the typical Washington worker is actually contributing less to both local and state government compared to the typical Oregonian in the same job while making almost the same use of the services those taxes pay for.

  46. Sigh, I lied. I will post once more.

    “But lets be clear, unlike those Oregonians, you are also taking a large sum of money out of the local Oregon economy. If that money stayed in Oregon, some of it would have been paid to Oregon employees, who would have paid Oregon income taxes on it. Some of that money would have been used to pay local property taxes. So the typical Washington worker is actually contributing less to both local and state government compared to the typical Oregonian in the same job while making almost the same use of the services those taxes pay for.”

    This paragraph is grossly incorrect. For one thing – The local economy doesn’t stop at the state line. And in addition, most of the disposable income I spend is going to national corporations like AT&T, Target, Safeway and Amazon.com. And I am nowhere close to using the exact same amount of services as the typical Oregonian is. I will not have the state of OR fund 13 years (K-12) education for my kid and I will not have the state pay for part of my kid’s college education. Most Oregonian households have had children in them at one time and most of those children were educated in public schools in the state of Oregon.

    Also, you confirmed my point that by living in WA, I’m not costing the city of Portland or Multnomah County any more than if I lived in Tigard or Hillsboro or Lake Oswego.

    And lastly YES I AM COSTING THE STATE OF OREGON A WHOLE LOT LESS. I do not have kids in the Oregon public school system, but I would if I moved to Oregon. Right there I am saving the state $4,000 a year once my kid is old enough to be enrolled in public school. I also am not going to send my kid to an Oregon university. Based on current in-state tuition and the “cost to educate”, I am saving the state of Oregon $000s of dollars.

    And if (God forbid) I lose my job and need to get on state-funded health care, I will be on the Washington plan, not the Oregon plan. That would save OR money as well.

    While a childless person also saves the state this money, my point is that if I get the urge to move to Oregon – boom, the State of Oregon will have to spend more money because I am there. The state won’t collect any more money from me. Therefore, the state government’s income has gone down (revenue is the same, but expenses are higher). Again, this is simple math.

  47. And if (God forbid) I lose my job and need to get on state-funded health care, I will be on the Washington plan, not the Oregon plan. That would save OR money as well.

    I have other posts to make on these topics, but as a Washington worker who lives in Oregon that’s now unemployed, that’s not how I’ve found anything works.

  48. “The local economy doesn’t stop at the state line.”

    The taxes paid do. Employees of national chains in Washington do not pay Oregon income taxes. Nor do the stores pay Oregon property taxes. The question is whether the state loses tax revenue when you take your paycheck back to Washington. It does.

    “I will not have the state of OR fund 13 years (K-12) education for my kid”

    Neither will hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who pay taxes.

    “my point is that if I get the urge to move to Oregon – boom, the State of Oregon will have to spend more money because I am there.”

    Just as it will if you are convicted of a crime and sent to prison. Or the victim of a crime. Or if you just call a cop or have a fender-bender or thousands of other factors that have nothing to do with where you live.

    You seem to be arguing that you shouldn’t have to pay income taxes if you don’t have kids in school. But many Oregonian taxpayers do not have children in the schools. Like you, they are saving the state money.

    “(God forbid) I lose my job and need to get on state-funded health care, I will be on the Washington plan, not the Oregon plan.”

    At that point, you wouldn’t be paying any Oregon taxes to fund it either. Your argument seems to be that you shouldn’t have to pay for low-income health care in Oregon, despite getting your income from Oregon’s economy, because you have a house in Washington.

    BTW, I don’t know all the economics of low-income health care but isn’t medicaid largely funded by the federal government, not the states?

  49. Speaking in moderator mode now, I think the back-and-forth of this has reached the point where people are growing exasperated with each other without actually having any movement in position. Although I do have an opinion about who’s right and who’s wrong, I think we should all take a break on the tax contributions of WA residents issue for a bit.

  50. Bob, I suspected it was you. Well, so much for posting rules. And even if all of your arguments were right you still were in a minority in this thread at least.

    When Oregon businesses hire someone from another state don’t you think the business has reasonably evaluated its needs—which may result in including personnel who live in Washington? Are you going to tell those people they have to move to Oregon, then? I would start questioning where your social engineering is going to end.

    As far as overall cost of Third Bridge—yes I do think it will cost more than what that website reveals. But, looking at the alternatives, i.e, multiple specialty bridges over the Columbia; expensive series of renovations to I-5; proliferating, underused MAX lines; local communities involved in endless planning discussions as a result of population growth—-I think it is far and away the most cost effective solution.

    Te CLF plan of a supplemental specialized bridge would have very limited utility, in light of larger demographics in the METRO region. And, IMO, those same contributions, valid to a great extent, could be achieved in ThirdBridge.

  51. Bob, I suspected it was you.

    Suspected what was me?

    And even if all of your arguments were right you still were in a minority in this thread at least.

    What arguments? This morning was the first time I’ve posted anything in this thread at all.

    Your practice of spinning conspiracy theories in our comment threads has now taken you into really bizarre territory.

  52. Ron, since I can see the e-mail addresses of commenters, I can tell you definitively that Bob is not ‘Just Saying’.

    Knock off the personal stuff and keep it to policy please.

  53. “I would start questioning where your social engineering is going to end.”

    It seems to me the height of “social engineering” to build a bridge from Clark County to Hillsboro. The only purpose it serves is to “social engineer” more people to make that trip.

    People make decisions about what trips to take based on variety of mostly personal considerations. They tend not to give public costs much weight.

    The reason so few people drive from Clark County to Hillsboro is obvious, the length of the trip. Shorten that trip and you can “socially engineer” more people choosing to make it. But when you consider the public costs, that is not something that ought to be encouraged.

    On the other hand, a local bridge that serves existing trips from Vancouver to job centers along the Columbia will make it easier for people to live and work closer together. Adding transit and better bike and pedestrian facilities makes those alternatives more desirable. All of those have public benefits compared to people driving their own vehicle.

    You can call that “social engineering” if you want. But by that definition, anything you do to build an attractive place for people to live is “social engineering”.

  54. I think a better idea would be for Washington to take all the money it would have spent on this gargantuan project and use it to lure businesses to Vancouver. After all, with the passage of 66 and 67, Oregon has proven itself to be hostile to businesses. Without the commuters needing to cross the bridge, there would be no traffic to necessitate a bridge.

  55. I remember vaguely someone floating the idea around of a new freeway starting at Salem that would go west of the Metro and join I-5 at Kalama. I wonder how much that would cost? It would greatly improve the economies of Polk and Yamhill counties and give an alternative to through traffic to completely avoid going through the City of Portland.

  56. I think a better idea would be for Washington to take all the money it would have spent on this gargantuan project and use it to lure businesses to Vancouver.

    It’s an amusing thought exercise, but seems unlikely to actually work. The only businesses I know that successfully moved to WA were ones where the CEO/president lived there and would save money out of their personal taxes from the move.

  57. After all, with the passage of 66 and 67, Oregon has proven itself to be hostile to businesses. Without the commuters needing to cross the bridge, there would be no traffic to necessitate a bridge.

    People were making the claim about Oregon being hostile to business long before 66/67 passed, so if that was actually true, you would think that business owners would be flocking to Clark Co. Yet, here we are, still talking about wasting $4 billion so Clark Co. residents can drive by themselves to their jobs in Oregon.

  58. Not enough time has gone by yet. You’ll start to see the changes in the coming years. Oregon will be a broke welfare sucking state. And I wouldn’t be surprised if TriMet goes belly up before too long….. Have you seen how many empty bus and Max trains there are nowadays? I’ve riden on them — sometimes the 62 is completely empty for most of the route!

  59. Oregon will be a broke welfare sucking state.

    A recent study by a group representing over 600 corporations, showing that Oregon has among the very lowest taxes on businesses, does not share your view.

    Have you seen how many empty bus and Max trains there are nowadays?

    No. It’s usually rather crowded when I ride. But then neither your limited anecdotes nor my limited anecdotes carry much weight next to the formal, statistically gathered performance reports.

  60. Interesting stats, thanks for sharing! You may be correct that the MAX can be crowded at peak times. But how does it pay for itself running during the NON commuting hours, i.e. most of the day? So it looks like bus ridership is down and TriMet is losing money as usual. If it were an actual business it wouldn’t even be in business. Maybe they can get a bailout with the monopoly money the government is printing these days.

  61. People were making the claim about Oregon being hostile to business long before 66/67 passed, so if that was actually true, you would think that business owners would be flocking to Clark Co. Yet, here we are, still talking about wasting $4 billion so Clark Co. residents can drive by themselves to their jobs in Oregon.

    The way I see a Third Bridge route is that it would cut the distance from Vancouver to West Union Junction by five miles, over the current I-5 to US 26 route. It is fifteen miles total, and would be even less from North Portland, Linnton area, North River district and Skyline area. This would make it a pretty good bicycle route and I think an express bus service could do well, too.

    So while a new I-5 crossing for $4 billion would be a waste, the “Western arterial route” would be a bonus, IMO. It saves the other major expense, not discussed much recently, of reconstructing the I-5 route in central Portland. We could also save a lot of proposed MAX investment, if we get a handle on the growth issue, and not encourage growth for its own sake.

  62. “The way I see a Third Bridge route is that it would cut the distance from Vancouver to West Union Junction by five miles, over the current I-5 to US 26 route.”

    Why is that a good thing, much less a priority for limited transportation funds? Almost no one is making that trip.

  63. If it were an actual business it wouldn’t even be in business.

    So? Why should it need to be profitable? How much profit do we see from Oregon’s state route 224 or US-26 per year? What’s the profit margin of Burnside?

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