After the Jamie Herrera Beutler Townhall on January 17, I had a brief conversation with Jamie. I’m going to recap that conversation.
But FIRST let me provide a short background on Transportation because I believe that the issue is fundamental to the economic well-being of both Southwestern Washington and the Portland Metropolitan area, including south to both Salem and Eugene and north to Olympia.
Federally, we have ONE Metropolitan planning area (MPA), But we have TWO metropolitan planning organizations (MPO’s) e.g. (JPAC and RTC. Each of these planning organizations has their own priorities, as they should, and have minimal representation on each others governing bodies. For “Joint” projects, of which there could be many, it is difficult to get these MPO’s to coalesce.
Keep in mind, too, the Federal Transit Administration has seven national goals in transportation: (1) Safety, (2) Infrastructure Condition, (3) Congestion Reduction, (4) System reliability, (5) Freight Mobility and Economic Vitality, (6) Environmental Stability, and (7) Reduced Project Delivery Delays.
From this imagine the possible projects!!! Including the I-5 Bridge!!! The projects would mean JOBS for our communities and could benefit the entire I-5 corridor. But know, with the recent snows and storms, ALL of the national goals are being tested in our MPA.
So, my question of Jaime was “Would you work together with Earl Blumenauer, the congressional representative in Oregon, in getting congressional authorization for a JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY, just as was done in NY & NJ in 1921?” (I think this is merely the first step!)
Jaime objected on the basis that it was not what her constituents in Clark County wanted, but quickly agreed when I pointed out that EVERYONE seems sick and tired of the GRIDLOCK!
I waxed poetic, having offered to Jaime, and had accepted, a KLONDIKE bar the past summer, that I wished I had sandwiches to share so we could break bread over a longer conversation!