House bill backing I5 Bridge replacement wins approval

first_imgSouthwest Washington lawmakers are determined to prove to their counterparts in Oregon that they are ready to revive conversations about a replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge. “The Columbia River Crossing (project) is dead. The federal money is gone, but we still need a bridge,” Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, said on the House floor of the Legislature on Monday afternoon. Later, she added, “Oregon has been waiting for a serious signal, that’s why this project is designated as statewide significance. It’s terminology that makes sense to them. It’s terminology they use.” House Bill 2095 passed 60-38 and now heads to the Senate for consideration. Republican Paul Harris of Vancouver would like to send another message to the group of people, including some of his colleagues in the Legislature who want to focus on a third, new crossing over the Columbia River before easing congestion on the I-5 Bridge. “I think the idea Oregon is going to look at other corridors before the I-5. … I’m sorry, that is not going to happen,” Harris said, adding: “There should be multiple crossings across the river, I completely agree. This is the first step.” Part of the goal of designating the bridge a project of statewide significance was to quell a growing movement of those pushing to focus first on a third east-or-west county bridge before addressing the aging I-5 crossing. A companion bill in the Senate stripped the “statewide significance” language from the bill, but the legislative intent remains the same. Both versions of the bill call for an inventory and cataloguing of all the previous work done on the Columbia River Crossing project. The measures would create a legislative action committee, made up of key stakeholders and Department of Transportation employees in Oregon and Washington.last_img read more