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

RTC’s Investment in Ridgefield’s Pioneer Street Rail Overpass
In 2013, RTC awarded $2 million in federal Transportation dollars to the Port of Ridgefield to help fund the Ridgefield Pioneer Street Rail Overpass project. These funds were combined with other local and federal funds to create a rail overpass that will provide safe access between downtown Ridgefield and the waterfront, which is separated by railroad tracks. Two at-grade rail crossings with safety concerns at Mill and Division Streets will be closed as part of the project. The project will also allow for the future development of the Port’s 41-acre waterfront developable parcel. The project is expected to be open to traffic before the end of September of 2021.
Board Awards $11.6 million to Fund Critical Transportation Projects
On September 7th the RTC Board selected 10 projects within the Clark County region to receive approximately $11.6 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Grants are awarded through a competitive grant process, based on grant program eligibility. Transportation investment will be made over the next four years to improve state highways and county and city streets and for transit facilities. Construction funding will be provided on Highway 99 Bus Rapid Transit, NE 152nd Avenue, NE 18th Street, SW Eaton Boulevard, and NE 179th Street.
Board Selects Bike and Pedestrian Projects for Funding
On July 6, 2021, the RTC Board of Directors selected five bike and pedestrian projects within Clark County to receive approximately $1.6 million in federal Transportation Alternatives funding. All were community-based projects that expand travel choices, improve the travel experience, and enhance mobility and safety. The projects are along Hazel Dell Avenue, Highway 99, Evergreen Highway (Vancouver), Pacific Highway (La Center), and Renaissance Trail (SR-501).
Interstate Bridge Replacement Project
The need to address the I-5 Corridor, including the interstate Bridge, has been identified through multiple planning efforts over the last several decades. Most recently the Columbia River Crossing Project (2005-2011) resulted in a preferred alternative, but did not secure adequate state funding to advance to construction. Beginning in 2019, the states of Oregon and Washington initiated efforts to restart work to replace the I-5 Interstate Bridge over the Columbia River. The Oregon and Washington State Departments of Transportation are leading this new effort to replace the I-5 Bridge with a modern, seismically resilient, multimodal structure. The commitment is to leverage work from previous efforts where feasible, utilizing current needs and values.
The Interstate Bridge Replacement Project is in the early stages of working with stakeholders and the public to identify needs and values which will become key components for screening alternatives to select a preferred alternative. Identified issues with the existing bridge include congestion, safety, earthquake vulnerability, impaired freight movement, inadequate bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and limited public transportation. The project is committed to a community-driven process with equity as a key component of the process and outcomes.
$53.6 Million in Federal Transportation Funding Advanced in 2020
RTC has published an annual report that summarizes how federal transportation funding was utilized within Clark County during calendar year 2020. Over the past year, agencies within Clark County worked to advance federally funded projects through various stages of development from planning, engineering and to construction. A total of $53.6 million in federal transportation dollars were utilized, with $9.8 million of the funds allocated through RTC Board of Directors.
2020 Annual Report on RTC’s Operations and Technology Program Now Available
The program known as Vancouver Area Smart Trek (VAST) is a partnership of transportation agencies in the Clark County region established to improve transportation system operations and performance through the use of smart technology and the system and communications infrastructure needed to support it. The VAST agencies, made up of WSDOT, Clark County, City of Vancouver, C-TRAN, and RTC collaborate on signal systems, freeway and arterial management, traveler information, and transit signal priority projects. Investments on operational and technology projects have been a small, but effective part of the overall transportation funding program. The annual report summarizes key 2020 accomplishments and recurring, recent and upcoming activities of the program.
Assessing Smart Technologies for the Region
RTC, City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN, and WSDOT partnered to gather information and conduct a self-assessment regarding the region’s capabilities and readiness to adopt strategies and smart technologies for infrastructure in operating the region’s transportation networks. A benchmarking survey was fielded with RTC partners which were analyzed and compared to national peers, establishing a benchmark of regional awareness, readiness, and implementation of smart communities’ strategies. The study found that RTC’s regional partners benchmark in the middle of the pack when compared to national peers. Key study findings and recommendations suggest the region’s smart community investments, staff capacity and agency culture, and buy-in can be improved.
Regional Traffic Safety & Targets
The RTC Board of Directors is now reviewing an annual assessment of regional traffic safety data in support of state and federal performance planning and safety target setting. Regional trends, measured in 5-year rolling averages, show changes in collision trends across several categories. Primary contributing factors to regional collisions relate primarily to driving behavior; impaired driving, distraction and speeding are shown as major contributing factors to traffic collisions. Regional goal setting strives for reducing collisions, and supporting the State’s traffic safety goal of Target Zero.
Board Updates Public Participation Plan
The RTC Board of Directors completed a periodic update to the agency’s Public Participation Plan (PPP). RTC values engagement and input from regional agencies and stakeholders and strives to make its meetings, processes and documents accessible for public comment. Updates this cycle focused on revising the agency’s strategy for remote meetings and related project work. Agency and Public Comments are welcome on all RTC’s work programs, and may be directed to our Feedback page.
Board Endorses Key State Legislative Statement
The RTC Board of Directors joined with dozens of local agencies and regional stakeholders by endorsing the Clark County Transportation Alliance 2021 Policy Statement. The 2021 Policy Statement provides a consensus recommendation of regional project priorities and policy initiatives which support development of the regional transportation systems. The Policy Statement advocates for new and continued state funding of regional investments and ongoing programs.
2020 Annual Report
RTC published its annual report of key program activities and outcomes for year 2020. Key highlights of 2020 included the Board of Directors awarding of over $12 million in regional grant funding to fifteen priority regional investments, and adopting a 4-year investment program that will yield over $422 million in regional multi-modal investments. The report also highlights strategic planning initiatives completed in 2020, which included a performance audit to advance the region’s “smart” transportation technology investments and planning for upgrades to regional freeway corridors.
Board Awards $12.1 million to Fund Critical Transportation Projects
On October 6th, the RTC Board selected 15 projects to receive approximately $12.1 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be programmed over the next four years, and include funding of transportation improvements in Cities of Vancouver, Camas, La Center, and unincorporated Clark County. Funding will also be used for transit, signal coordination, planning, and ramp meters. In addition to selecting grants, the RTC Board approved the 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $422 million in transportation investments over the next four years within the Clark County region.
Agency Response to COVID-19 OutbreakStay Home. Limit Travel. Save Lives.
COVID-19 is having a serious impact on our community and around the world. In accordance with Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-28, and out of concern for the health and safety of our staff, our colleagues, and the public we serve, RTC will follow the public meeting guidelines established to minimize spread of the novel coronavirus. Until further notice, meetings deemed essential will be held virtually, with a minimum of on-site personnel present. Public access will be provided online. Please contact your meeting organizer to confirm plans for meetings you’d planned to attend.

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.

Group sets goal of recommending new Interstate 5 Bridge’s blueprint by January - September 15, 2021
The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program’s ambitious timetable calls for the bistate project’s office to produce a single recommended configuration for a replacement Interstate 5 Bridge in as little as four months, releasing the plan publicly in January. Officials from Vancouver, Portland, Metro and other regional governments and agencies generally appeared to be on board with the compressed schedule at a Wednesday morning meeting of the program’s Executive Steering Group, but several members urged the project staff to make sure the selection process remains comprehensive enough to avoid any surprise issues popping up later.
Oregon panel gives conditional OK to I-5 Rose Quarter freeway cover design - September 9, 2021
The Oregon Transportation Commission voted Thursday to give conditional approval to an updated design for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project’s freeway cover component. The added conditions reflected skepticism expressed by multiple commissioners about whether the project would be able to obtain the estimated $400 million of additional funding that the new plan would require. The updated plan, referred to as “Hybrid 3,” was one of several options that the project office developed in conjunction with community groups and an outside consultant after the commission directed staff last year to take another look at the freeway cover plan and come up with new designs to provide greater restorative justice for the surrounding Albina neighborhood.
Ridgefield to celebrate Pioneer Street railroad overpass - September 1, 2021
Ridgefield residents won’t have to wait much longer to start using the new Pioneer Street railroad overpass. The $15 million project is wrapping up the final bits of construction and is targeted to open to traffic by the end of October. The last pieces of the security fence are about to be installed, according to Port of Ridgefield executive director Brent Grening. After that, the Washington State Department of Transportation and BNSF Railway will need to check the structure and sign off. “Once that’s done, it’s pretty much good to go,” he said.
Clark County population tops 500,000 - August 13, 2021
Clark County has cracked the half-million population mark, adding residents at a rate that made it the fastest growing county in the Portland-Vancouver metro area and second-fastest-growing county in Washington. The milestone was a top highlight of 2020 census data released Thursday. The county’s population rose from 425,363 in the 2010 census to 503,311 in 2020. The county’s 18.3 percent growth rate for the decade was exceeded only by Franklin County.
Bridges, rail, airports: What’s Washington’s cut of the Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill? - August 11, 2021
The $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday would funnel billions of dollars of federal cash to Washington. The money would be spent on projects ranging from roads, rail lines and airport improvements, to upgrades to the transmission grid to handle the demands of a power industry shifting to cleaner sources of energy. Both of Washington’s Democratic senators – Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray – are committee chairs, and helped craft the package. The funding includes some high priority Northwest items, including salmon restoration, forest thinning, prescribed burns and monitoring and cleaning up the toxic legacy of firefighting chemicals that have contaminated drinking water. Washington and Oregon, through a new fund, also could seek money to help replace the Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia River.
Opinion: Building a new Columbia River bridge on a foundation of equity - July 14, 2021
I was 4 when my family was told, “you gotta move.” The Michigan State Highway Department was planning to level our family home to build a highway. While I was too young to recall many of the details, I remember the frustration my father felt. He was a man who took pride in his work, worked hard for his family and aspired to one day work at the highway department. The organization he hoped to join was now undermining the sanctity and stability of his family home. My family’s experience is all too common. Communities of color continue to experience displacement. Historically, we have not had a voice in either the process or the outcome of mega-transportation projects. Rather, we have been invited to meetings only after decisions have been made and without time to share the impact those decisions may have on our neighborhoods and our communities. I know this doesn’t have to be the way forward. I know we can do better. The effort to build a new bridge spanning the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon gives us the chance to show how it should be done.