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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you to everyone who participated in my recent transportation solutions survey. We received an outstanding number of responses. It is clear, this issue is extremely important to our district. Based on the responses to the survey, what I heard at the recent town hall I co-hosted with Rep. Liz Pike, and the hundreds of letters, emails and calls from residents in our region, everyone seems to agree on this key point – we must address the woefully inadequate transportation system between Washington and Oregon.

Your comments from the survey

Traffic congestion complaints dominated the comments people sent in to the survey. While there are a wide variety of preferences in potential solutions, ensuring traffic will be significantly reduced is the number one priority. Here is a small sample of the comments participants sent in:

“We need new ways to move around our community. Just like I-205 opened up new ways to move on the east side, we need new ways on the west side as well. More bridges!”

“…I operate a nursery in Ridgefield and have trucks heading down to the Willamette Valley daily…I am a strong proponent of a bypass that starts north of Vancouver, and heads southwest towards Hillsboro/Beaverton and continues south towards Tualatin and rejoins I-5 after the I-205 interchange.”

“…my concerns are that the most practical solution will not be given its full consideration. The tunnel option has many positives to it for both sides of the river and light rail (heaven forbid) could be accommodated on one of the existing bridges.”

“Add a bridge west of I-5 with at least 6 lanes in both directions.”

“Simple…the current I-5 bridge has outlived it's lifespan. Time to replace with an upgrade.”

“For crying out loud if we replace the I-5 bridge make it high enough that all commerce can pass under it.”

“The condition of the I-5 bridge demands serious work on planning its replacement. Solving the river crossing problems involves not just a new crossing but additional lands on the Oregon side as well.”

“The public transportation route is not a solution. We need to expand our freeway capacity as more people are moving to the state.”

“no light rail.”

“Light rail on the new Columbia crossing…YES.”

As promised, here are the results of the survey

Several people asked what my preference is for a solution

While there are a wide range of ideas, the point most people agree on is that traffic congestion needs to be drastically reduced. With that in mind, we must have a solution that draws traffic off the I-5 corridor in Clark County leading into Oregon. Ideally, this means building additional capacity with a new third bridge, or some other third connector. It is vitally important we have an alternative route directly off I-5 so commuters and freight trucks can get over to Oregon in an efficient manner.

If it were possible to wave a wand and fix everything today, I would personally like to see a west bypass being built. Drivers coming into Clark County could get off I-5 around La Center, Woodland or Ridgefield, then start heading west. This would enable commuters to get to the Hillsboro and Beaverton areas easily. It would also allow trucks and freight to connect seamlessly into the Port of Vancouver, then be able to continue into the Port of Portland and on to southern Oregon. This solution would improve commute times and foster economic development.

Representing your choices

At this point, the most important thing I can do is represent your choices in future discussions and next steps. This is why your feedback is important, appreciated, and very needed. Thank you again to everyone who participated in this survey. I will be writing more about transportation solutions in the weeks to come. In addition, Rep. Liz Pike and I will co-host a follow-up transportation town hall in May. Stay tuned, I will be sending more details when we get closer to the event date.

If you did not have the opportunity to respond to the survey, and would like to share your comments or ideas, please feel free to send me an email at vicki.kraft@leg.wa.gov or call (360) 786-7994.

Sincerely,


Vicki Kraft

State Representative Vicki Kraft, 17th Legislative District
RepresentativeVickiKraft.com
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
vicki.kraft@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7994 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000