04-10-15: Bipartisan amendment would provide seed money for bi-state bridge coalition

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Joint Release
House Republicans and House Democrats

April 10, 2015

FOR REP. PIKE: John Sattgast, Senior Information Officer/Broadcast Coordinator- (360) 786-7257
FOR REP. WYLIE: Lilia Nieto, Senior Communications Specialist – (360) 786-7375
Bipartisan amendment would provide seed money for bi-state bridge coalition

The Washington State House of Representatives has approved an amendment that would provide $100,000 for the creation of a bi-state legislative work group to seek solutions for a bridge crossing over the Columbia River between Vancouver and Portland.

Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who worked with Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, to author the amendment, said it is a new beginning to bring people together two years after some Washington lawmakers rejected the $3 billion Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project.

“We knew after the CRC’s demise that our interstate traffic congestion problem wasn’tRep. Liz Pike and Rep. Sharon Wylie going to magically disappear. We need solutions. That’s why I helped lead a meeting last June to bring legislators together from Washington and Oregon to begin talking about our next step. It became clear during that meeting that we still had work to do to mend fences enough so that we can begin anew on a project that will be workable for both sides of the border,” said Pike.

“I think we all realize that for any solutions to work, the involvement must be bipartisan and from both states. So I’m very pleased that Representative Wylie joined with me to create what I believe will be the most meaningful first step toward a new effort to build a bridge between Vancouver and Portland,” added Pike.

“While it’s true that we had deep differences in how to solve the problem of this part of the I-5 corridor, it’s also true that some of us have been trying to build relationships and understanding since the collapse of the previous effort. If we don’t work together nothing will get done, and that’s simply not an option for the people on both sides of the river,” said Wylie.

Under Amendment 354 offered by Wylie, $100,000 would be provided in the maintenance level transportation operating budget (passed Thursday by the House in House Bill 1299) for the Washington State Transportation Commission to coordinate and staff a bi-state project legislative workgroup. The workgroup would be made up of a bipartisan group of legislators from Washington and Oregon whose districts are adjacent to the project and are members of their respective transportation committees.

In addition, the amendment calls for involvement of neutral facilitators from the William D. Ruckleshaus Center and the Oregon Consensus Center to help with the composition of the workgroup.

“We think it’s important to have expert facilitators who can help bring people together and open communications on this important issue. This also calls for strong public participation and input throughout the initial stages of the project,” noted Pike. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m very excited, because I think this amendment is a small, but vital, step on a journey toward solving the traffic congestion problems that bottleneck the I-5 bridge between Vancouver and Portland.”

“I wholeheartedly believe we will arrive at a solution that really does work for everybody, because even though Representative Pike and I may disagree on some aspects of this issue, we share a determination to work together in good faith for the people we serve,” Wylie added.

The workgroup will be required to give its final recommendations to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2016, and thereafter until the project is complete.

The amendment to House Bill 1299 passed on a voice vote. The bill passed the House Thursday, 78-19, and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House of Representatives
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600


Washington State House Republican Communications