Regional Transportation Planning, Research, Investment Strategies, and Funding.

State Selects Regional Mobility Grants
The Washington State Legislature recently selected 3 local projects to receive approximately $6.4 million from the Regional Mobility Grant Program. The Regional Mobility Grant Program funds transit mobility projects to lessen congestion, including new buses, park and rides, and transit service. The funded projects include Hybrid Buses for C-TRAN, Seasonal Weekend Transit Service in Skamania County, and Bi-State Express Bus Service in Klickitat County.
WSDOT Selects Public Transportation Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation selected 8 local projects to receive approximately $2.45 million from the 2017-2019 Consolidated Grant Program. This program funds projects to improve public transportation service, purchase new buses, and improve service for the elderly and persons with disabilities. The funded projects sustains public transit service for elderly, persons with disabilities, and for employment purposes within Clark County, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties.
Regional Transportation Plan Update Begins
The RTP is Clark County’s long-range plan covering all modes of transportation. The current RTP was adopted in 2014. RTC is now beginning an update to the Plan, using 2040 as the horizon year, to be adopted in late 2018. Through the rest of 2017 and most of 2018, various topics will be considered as the RTP is updated. Those will include: transportation policies, changing regional demographics, transportation trends, use of performance measures to evaluate how the transportation system is working, needed transportation projects and programs, as well as a financial plan for the transportation system. For more information, and to provide your input, visit the 2018 RTP Update web page.
Oregon Working Towards Rose Quarter Fix
Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) briefed the RTC Board on March 7 regarding work now underway to improve traffic conditions and safety at the Rose Quarter pinch-point. The Rose Quarter bottleneck along I-5 may get relief once ODOT plans to improve a section of I-5 between I-405 and I-84 move forward to construction. At the recent RTC briefing, ODOT’s project manager reported that work is underway on the required environmental permitting requirements, and construction could begin once the permits are approved and the project is fully funded. As planned, the project would add auxiliary lanes and extend freeway ramps and shoulders which are projected to significantly improve travel times and reduce crashes in this high-use corridor segment. Additional information on this project can be found in the materials presented to the RTC Board.
Fiscal Year 2018 Unified Planning Work Program Adopted
RTC annually prepares a UPWP to document the proposed transportation planning activities RTC and regional partners will carry out in the forthcoming year. After reviewing a draft at its April 4 meeting and after making the document available for public review, the Board adopted the FY 2018 UPWP at its May 2 meeting. Fiscal Year 2018 begins July 1, 2017, and goes through June 30, 2018. The UPWP is a requirement of a coordinated transportation planning process required by federal and state governments.
RTC Board endorses Resolutions to Advance I-5 Bridge Replacement
The RTC Board of Directors endorses two Resolutions which advance a Regional Transportation Plan (2014) project priority; to complete an I-5 bridge replacement project within the next 20 years. The resolutions are a current statement of support for ongoing Washington state legislative efforts to move forward with policy and project related activities to replacing the I-5 bridges. The first resolution (02-17-03) recommends that the Washington Legislature designate a future I-5 bridge replacement project as a “Project of Statewide Significance.” With that formal designation, a future project may benefit from provisions in state statute which foster additional Washington state agency coordination and expedited project reviews and permitting. The second resolution (02-17-04) supports clearing of impediments in law, be it state or federal law. Such a statement of support may further focus efforts to accelerate planning, funding and construction of a future project.
Agency Paves the Way for Fourth Plain Bus Rapid Transit
RTC completed the High-Capacity Transit Study, along with its partner agencies, in 2008. This study identified BRT improvements along the Fourth Plain, Highway 99, and Mill Plain corridors with significant bus improvements in the I-205 Corridor, tagging Fourth Plain as the priority corridor. RTC then provided seed funding in the form of a $4 million regional competitive CMAQ grant for the design, planning, and engineering of the Fourth Plain BRT route. Leveraging RTC’s seed funding, C-TRAN was able to obtain a $3 million state regional mobility grant and a $38.4 million federal Small Starts grant to fund final construction. The Vine will provide enhanced bus service along primarily the Fourth Plain corridor between Vancouver Mall and Downtown Vancouver.
2016 Annual Report
In 2016, RTC deployed over $8.8 million in seed capital funds for 10 regional projects in Clark County. These important projects are designed to upgrade the region’s signal, roadway, transit, and trail networks. RTC partnered with C-TRAN and WSDOT to initiate a regional evaluation of operating transit buses on the shoulders of the regional freeways as part of a Bus on Shoulder Feasibility Study. This study, along with other regional transportation system management improvements funded by the VAST program, push the region to implement strategies which optimize the use and efficiency of the regional transportation networks. As the congestion on major commute routes increases, strategies like those will become more important. Continued monitoring of the region’s major transportation networks was a focus for RTC as part of this year’s re-designed Congestion Monitoring Report. Select recommendations for responding to the region’s commute congestion conditions are documented in the CMP Report and are a cornerstone of the region’s Regional Transportation Plan.
C-TRAN to Receive a Grant for additional Hybrid Buses
WSDOT is recommending that C-TRAN receive $5,812,993 in state funds through the 2017-2019 Regional Mobility Grant Program. With this proposal, C-TRAN will purchase eight 40-foot hybrid diesel/electric buses and two 60-foot hybrid diesel/electric buses to accommodate a 24,000 vehicle hour service expansion. The prioritize list of projects has been submitted to the state legislature for final approval.
Eleven Local Projects Granted $13.2 Million by TIB
The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board funds high priority transportation projects in communities throughout the state of Washington to enhance the movement of people, goods and services. State-wide, the TIB awarded transportation grants totaling $121.2 million to local agencies on November 18. The following eleven transportation projects, in southwest Washington (Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties), were awarded grants totaling $13.2 million...   [show]
Two Local Projects Granted Pedestrian and Bicycle Funding
WSDOT is recommending that two local projects receive funding through the 2017-2019 Pedestrian and Bicycle Program. Battle Ground received $906,707 to construct a shared use path along SR-503. Clark County received $410,000 to construct sidewalk and bicycle lane upgrades on Highway 99. The prioritized list of projects has been submitted to the state legislature for final approval.
The TSMO Plan: Guiding Investment in Smart Technology
RTC and the Vancouver Area Smart Trek agencies have released the 2016 update to the Transportation System Management and Operations Plan, first developed and adopted by the RTC Board in June 2011. The TSMO Plan guides the implementation of operational strategies and supporting Intelligent Transportation Systems technologies for Clark County in Southwest Washington. It presents a structure for accomplishing transportation system management objectives and making future ITS investments and capital improvements necessary to accomplish those objectives.
Seed Funding Paves the Way for Fisher’s Park-n-Ride Expansion
Transit access increases for east Clark county residents and businesses. RTC provided seed funding in the form of an $800,000 regionally competitive CMAQ grant for the design, planning, and engineering of the recently opened Fisher’s Landing Park-n-Ride expansion. C-TRAN also garnered a $1.7 million state regional mobility grant to fund final construction. This expansion grows the capacity of the Park-n-Ride to 759 spaces serving seven transit routes in east Clark County.

News Feed

Below are an assortment of recent news items related to or impacting local transportation issues. Most of these stories were authored outside the agency, and will take you to a new page on (or PDF document from) an external site.

C-Tran says changes positive, more work to do - June 20, 2017
Chris Forhan uses C-Tran nearly every day and has been a constant rider for a little more than 10 years, so he had a keen interest when the agency made a substantial service change last year and added The Vine in January. C-Tran altered 375 bus stops, changed 11 routes, added three more and dropped two others in September in an effort to improve overall functionality of its system. The changes helped lay the foundation for The Vine, the region’s first bus rapid transit system, which went live a few months later. So, how’d the agency do?
C-Tran to shoulder pilot project - June 15, 2017
A few months from now, drivers needn’t be alarmed if they’re stuck in a traffic jam on part of state Highway 14 and a C-Tran bus passes them on the shoulder. The C-Tran Board of Directors approved an interlocal agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation that paves the way for an 18-month bus-on-shoulder pilot project. Likely starting in September, the project will allow buses on routes 41, 65 and 164 to drive on the eastbound and westbound highway shoulder between Interstate 205 and Northeast 164th Avenue when traffic in the main lanes drops below 35 mph.
Group: Get HOV lane back in gear - June 1, 2017
Clark County resident Natalie Richards is one of thousands of Portland-bound commuters who finds herself frustrated and stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Richards, a civil engineer and project manager, rides the bus across the Columbia River, but it’s done little to save time. In fact, she found herself having to leave earlier and earlier to make it to work by 8 a.m. “When the gas price went down all the cars hit the road at 5:30 too … We were stuck behind all these single-driver cars,” she said. Now she and a group of 16 others have been championing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on the southbound stretch of Interstate 5 in hopes that they would bring some reprieve for carpools and mass transit riders. Officials say HOV lanes can be a solution to congestion, but not on southbound I-5 in its current configuration.
Northeast 10th Avenue improvement project begins - May 25, 2017
Construction crews have broken ground on a public works project that’s intended to improve and connect two stretches of Northeast 10th Avenue that are separated by Whipple Creek. Earlier this week, Cascade Bridge LLC, which was awarded the $14.62 million contract for the project by the county, began preliminary work on widening the stretches of Northeast 10th Avenue, while also adding sidewalks, bike lanes and a 450-foot bridge that will connect the road across the creek, said Bart Arthur, Clark County Public Works construction engineer.
Long sprint to add sidewalks on Northeast 68th Street - May 24, 2017
Residents on and near Northeast 68th Street have tried to get sidewalks on the narrow road for quite a while. Now, it appears like the street is close to getting sidewalks thanks to a bunch of pot stirrers in the Northeast Hazel Dell Neighborhood Association. Getting sidewalks on 68th Street was named the highest-scoring project on the county’s Sidewalk Infill Priority List, and the county applied for a 2017 Transportation Alternatives Program grant through the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council.
Inslee signs bridge bill - May 10, 2017
With a swipe of his pen, Gov. Jay Inslee made it official on Wednesday: Southwest Washington legislators will renew conversations around how to ease traffic on the congested Interstate 5 Bridge. With the implosion of the Columbia River Crossing project still fresh in legislators’ minds, Senate Bill 5806 treads lightly. As Inslee stated while signing the measure into law, it launches a process to start planning how to replace the 100-year-old bridge. The governor said he’s hopeful it will be a process that includes both Washington and Oregon. “I believe it’s important for both states to come together to figure out the next bridge across the river,” Inslee said.
Money for Camas Slough bridge improvements could be headed down the road - May 3, 2017
The $25 million that Washington legislators set aside to widen the Camas Slough Bridge could be headed a few miles west for a project to to widen SR-14 between Interstate 205 and SE 164th Avenue. Officials said widening SR-14 would relieve congestion during commutes, which is a more pressing issue for people in Camas, Washougal, and East Vancouver.
Data: Rush hour traffic gets worse - May 3, 2017
The regional economy is going strong and the cities of Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon are growing, but all that activity is making the work commute in Clark County a nightmare. Data collected last year by the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council show delays between Vancouver and Portland have increased, travel times on major arterials are less reliable, major arterial congestion is getting worse and so are delays at major intersections. Driving conditions are the worst during the peak morning and evening commute periods.
Inslee urges SW Washington to agree on an I-5 Bridge effort - May 2, 2017
Despite a lukewarm response from across the river after Washington lawmakers approved a measure to address the chronically congested crossing over the Columbia River, Gov. Jay Inslee is hopeful Oregon will eventually get behind a replacement Interstate 5 Bridge project. “If you have a job in (Oregon), you want those workers to get to Portland, even if they reside here,” Inslee said on Tuesday while speaking to a member of The Columbian’s Editorial Board. “So I would characterize it as both sides should have an equal interest in getting this project done.” But Inslee cautioned nobody has the desire to repeat the past when Washington walked away from the ill-fated Columbia River Crossing project in 2013 after years of planning.
High-speed rail to be focus of state study - April 26, 2017
The Pacific Northwest has long been united on many fronts. From Vancouver, B.C., to Seattle to Portland, government leaders often reflect their region’s progressive ethos. Gov. Jay Inslee is hoping someday the cities could be even more connected by a train traveling at speeds faster than 250 miles per hour between Vancouver, B.C., and Portland, with a stop here, connecting the cities’ people, cultures and perhaps most importantly, economies. Although there’s long been talk of integrating the region by a high-speed rail line, this year the state Legislature has carved out $300,000 in the state’s transportation budget to begin studying the costs and benefits of a new rail system. Private-sector partners, which have not yet been named, are expected to supplement the funding.