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

Clark County RTP: 2019 Update Adopted
The RTC Board of Directors adopted a 2019 update to the Regional Transportation Plan for Clark County at its March 5 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-plus year, transportation plan required by federal and state governments as a pre-condition for receipt of federal and state transportation funding to this region. Adoption of the 2019 Plan concluded an almost two-year process during which Plan elements, such as regional transportation policies, demographic projections, and transportation projects and strategies, were reviewed and updated.
Clark County’s Aging Population has Important Transportation Needs
The Clark County Commission on Aging has published a report highlighting the results of a years long effort to identify the County’s needs and to highlight potential strategies for helping aging residents access mobility options. This effort was running concurrent with RTC’s study of the residents social service needs and access to transportation mobility. RTC’s Human Services Transportation Plan and project recommendations was approved by the RTC Board in November 2018. Clark County’s Commission on Aging is hosting a community summit on February 21 to share their report recommendations and to foster community dialogue regarding taking action. RTC is a co-sponsor to this event and will participate in the summit.
Major Regional Roadway Connection Completed
Clark County is nearing completion of significant regional transportation system project on NE 10th Ave. When opened for traffic, the corridor will serve as a parallel arterial roadway route, serving local business and residential development growth planned for the Salmon Creek and Fairgrounds / NE 179th interchange areas. RTC was a funding partner to a series of projects in the NE 10th Ave corridor. RTC granted $1 million in seed funding to get the bridge design started on NE 10th Avenue over Whipple Creek (154th St. to 164th St). Design funds were obligated in 2013. RTC granted $1,840,000 for construction, for a total of $2.84 million for the bridge project. In addition, RTC granted $2.46 million on NE 10th Avenue for improvements between NE 141st St. and 149th St. (previously constructed and opened to traffic).
WSDOT Selects Regional Mobility Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently recommended that the Legislature fund one project in Clark County and one project in Klickitat County for a total of $5.22 million in Washington State Regional Mobility Grants. C-TRAN would receive $4.9 million to design and construct an I-5 southbound Bus on Shoulder project from NE 99th Street to the Interstate Bridge. MATS in Klickitat County will receive continuing funding of $320,000 to provide express fixed route service to improve connectivity between counties in the Columbia Gorge Region in both Washington and Oregon.
WSDOT Recommends Pedestrian and Bicycle Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently recommended that the Legislature fund two pedestrian and bicycle projects in the City of Vancouver. Under the Pedestrian and Bicycle Program, the City of Vancouver would receive $489,000 to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety on Devine Road. Under the Safe Routes to School Program, the City of Vancouver would receive $500,000 to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Northwest Vancouver neighborhood.
Transportation Improvement Board Grants Awarded
The Washington State TIB funds high priority transportation projects in communities throughout the state to enhance the movement of people, goods, and services. The City of Vancouver was awarded $3 million for transportation improvements on SE 1st Street, from SE 164th Ave. to SE 177th Ave. In addition, a total of $445,152 was awarded between Goldendale, White Salmon, and Stevenson to restore road surface at multiple locations.
Skamania Regional Transportation Plan Adopted
The RTC Board adopted a 2018 update to the RTP for Skamania County at its November 6 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-year, transportation plan. Adoption of the 2018 Plan concluded a year-long process during which Plan elements, such demographic projections and transportation improvements and strategies, were reviewed and updated. The region’s highest priority transportation improvements include enhancement of SR-14 near Cape Horn, SR-14 intersection improvements at Bridge of the Gods and Hot Spring Way, and rockfall protection.
Klickitat Regional Transportation Plan Adopted
The RTC Board adopted a 2018 update to the RTP for Klickitat County at its November 6 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-year, transportation plan. Adoption of the 2018 Plan concluded a year-long process during which Plan elements, such demographic projections and transportation improvements and strategies, were reviewed and updated. The region’s highest priority transportation improvements include replacement of the Hood River Bridge, All-Weather County Roads, and SR-14 in downtown Bingen.
Human Services Transportation Plan Updated
The 2018 update to the HSTP for Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties was recently completed. The intent of the HSTP is to identify the special transportation needs of people with disabilities, low income, the young, the elderly, and those in rural areas who cannot provide transportation for themselves.
RTC Board Awards $7.6 million to Fund Critical Transportation Projects
On October 2, the RTC Board selected 7 projects to receive approximately $7.6 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be programmed in 2022, and include funding for arterial improvements along 137th Ave., NE 99th St., and Grace Avenue. Funding will also be used for Bus Rapid Transit along Mill Plain Blvd. In addition to selecting grants, the RTC Board approved the 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $332 million in regional transportation investments over the next four years within Clark County.
Transportation Council Backs Replacement for I-5 Bridge
The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge with high-capacity transit with a dedicated guideway. The resolution, which was passed during the RTC’s meeting Tuesday evening, cites the crossing’s significance to the Vancouver-Portland metro area, the I-5 corridor, the West Coast and the nation, as well as the crippling traffic congestion it’s plagued with.

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.

Battle Ground congestion project faces gap in funding - May 8, 2019
It was a relief to many when the Legislature adjourned its 105-day session and passed a budget with minutes to spare, but Battle Ground Mayor Mike Dalesandro feels his city was left behind. The city had requested $1.3 million in inflationary adjustment for the state Highway 502 and state Highway 503 congestion relief project, but did not receive it. The project was expected to cost $7.7 million and be entirely funded by the state’s Connecting Washington transportation funding package. The first of the project’s three phases wrapped up in late 2017. The second phase – the most costly of the three – is scheduled to start this year. Dalesandro said it’s not at the point where the project has to be put on hold, but that’s a definite possibility if the city can’t secure funds within the upcoming year.
Legislature makes deadline, secures $35M for I-5 Bridge - April 29, 2019
Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, recalled meeting with federal transportation officials to discuss renewed efforts to replace the century-old Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River. Since the demise of the Columbia River Crossing, the previous replacement project in 2013, both Oregon and Washington have faced the prospect of having to repay nearly $150 million to the federal government in September if they couldn’t demonstrate progress on replacing the antiquated bridge. Cleveland recalled asking in the meeting about the prospect of having to repay federal funds. “The response was: ‘We don’t know; that’s never happened before,’” said Cleveland. After Washington Legislature adjourned its 105-day session Sunday night, Cleveland is more confident the two states won’t be on the hook to repay the feds after she secured $35 million in the state’s $52.4 billion two-year budget toward replacing the bridge.
Legislature OKs bill to boost project to replace I-5 Bridge - April 11, 2019
While many of the details of a replacement Interstate 5 Bridge have yet to be worked out, Washington lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a bill that’s intended to hasten the project’s development once an agreement is struck. On Wednesday, the Senate passed HB 1994, which would create a process to designate transportation projects as being of statewide significance and is squarely aimed at expediting the replacement of the bridge. The bill passed on a 41-5 vote with the support of Sens. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, and Ann Rivers, R-La Center. Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, was excused. According to a staff summary of the bill, an eligible project must “contain a bridge that connects two states, that has a reasonable construction cost estimate of at least $500 million.” Projects with this designation would need to meet criteria to relieve congestion, improve freight mobility, provide safety improvements and enhance regional economic development opportunities. Under the bill, the Washington State Department of Transportation would expedite the ’project’s completion and assemble a team of state, local and private officials to meet the project’s planning and permitting needs.
Oregon governor: Time to plan new Interstate 5 bridge is now - April 2, 2019
Gov. Kate Brown wants Oregon to accelerate plans to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge. Assuming Washington’s Legislature approves a $17.5 million request from Gov. Jay Inslee to open a new bistate office to lead design, engineering and public outreach for a new bridge, Brown said Oregon must be ready to act. If the money comes through, that joint office should be opened by the end of the year, Brown said. In a March 20 letter to the chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, Brown said the aging bridge spanning the Columbia River is “a seismic risk, a freight bottleneck, a barrier to effective public transportation and a source of some of the worst gridlock in the nation.” “Its current condition poses a threat to Oregon’s economic vitality,” Brown wrote to Tammy Baney, who leads the state’s top transportation decision-making body, “and is negatively impacting the livability of our state.”
Senate Democrats release two-year transportation budget - March 26, 2019
Democrats in the state Senate have released their two-year transportation budget, proposing $9.9 billion in spending on areas that broadly mirror a counterpart proposal in the state House. The budget, unveiled by the head of the Senate transportation committee Tuesday, includes money to begin electrifying the state’s ferry system, jump-start planning on a replacement for the Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River, and make a start on a multibillion-dollar court order over salmon spawning barriers. Advancing the process to replace the century-old I-5 Bridge has been a priority of Clark County lawmakers and other community leaders for the current legislative session.
$500 million ODOT plan addresses Rose Quarter bottleneck issue - March 25, 2019
For years, Clark County critics of the failed Columbia River Crossing project complained that Oregon should work first to fix the bottleneck on Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter. Now Oregon Department of Transportation officials have a $500 million plan to do just that. But the project has drawn a lot of hostility from a variety of groups south of the river, ranging from bicyclists to the Portland Public Schools. That leaves Clark County with at least two things to think about: Will Oregon ever find the consensus to fix a stretch of freeway that vexes Clark County motorists? And what might that conflict mean for nascent attempts at a new Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project?