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

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.
WSDOT to Improve Safety on SR-500
Beginning Monday, October 15, a contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin the first steps to make significant safety improvements to SR-500 between St. Johns Road and Andresen Road. The SR-500 intersections at NE Falk Road and NE Stapleton Road will become right in and right out only intersections – no left turns or crossing at these intersections. The project will conclude with the weekend closure of SR-500 (October 27-28) to remove the existing traffic signals. The weekend closure is weather dependent.
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.
Human Services Transportation Plan Update Underway
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. Under current federal law, the HSTP must undergo periodic review. In 2018, the HSTP for Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties is in the process of being updated. For more information, and to provide your input, visit the 2018 HSTP Update web page.
WSDOT launches study to improve safety on SR-500
Traffic backups and delays are no surprise to people who use SR-500 between I-5 and I-205 in Vancouver. To improve safety and travel times on SR-500, the Washington State Department of Transportation is gathering public input as part of a study that will develop improvements to benefit all users of the highway. There are a high rate of collisions near the traffic signals at NE Falk Road/42nd Avenue and NE Stapleton Road/54th Avenue, especially during busy travel times. “With more traffic on SR-500 than ever before, we’re seeing more crashes,” said Carley Francis, WSDOT Regional Planning Director. “We need input from people who use the road to help us make the right investment at the right place.”
WSDOT Selects Bridge Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently selected four local projects to receive approximately $1.84 million in federal funds for local bridge improvements. The bridges to be improved include the Washougal River Bridge (Camas), Lehto Bridge (Clark County), Smith Bridge (Clark County), and Salmon Creek Bridge (Clark County). The local bridge program focus is to preserve and improve the condition of local bridges that are physically deteriorated or structurally deficient through replacement, rehabilitation, and systematic preventive maintenance.
WSDOT Selects County Safety Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently selected two projects in Clark County and one project in Klickitat County to receive a total of $1.96 million from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). Clark County will be making safety improvements at NE 259th Street/NE 72nd Avenue intersection and NE 63rd Street/NE 58th Avenue intersection. Klickitat County will be upgrading curve warning signs. The HSIP program requires that all safety improvements be consistent with Washington State’s Safety Highway Plan (Target Zero).
Region Continues to Innovate with Low-Cost Freeway Improvements
In November 2014, the RTC Board adopted recommendations to address long- and short-term roadway improvements and transit operations in the I-205 corridor, as well a set of operational policies for regional freeway corridors in the region. Regional partners continue to deliver on those Plan recommendations. Since Plan adoption, C-TRAN and WSDOT have partnered to deploy a pilot study of shoulder running bus operations on SR-14. And in addition to completing the NE 18th St. interchange, WSDOT has recently implemented a low-cost restriping of the I-205 and SR-500 interchange merge area to improve traffic flow, and implementation of ramp meters to improve freeway flow will be coming in the near future.
2017 Annual Report
In 2017, RTC celebrated 25 years of regional transportation collaboration across Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. Over the course of the past 25 years, RTC has awarded nearly $233 million in federal transportation grants to help plan and build needed transportation projects in our community. In addition to distributing grant funds, RTC has led several major planning studies, which have resulted in regional consensus in and investments to serve the region’s rapid growth. Going forward, our region faces many more needs and will find many more growth opportunities. As a collection of agencies committed to community progress and investment, we continue to plan for the future to see what projects need to be done, then work collectively to put those ideas into action.
Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project
Help Washington explore a potential new way to pay for roads and bridges. Sign up to test a road usage charge where drivers will simulate paying for the miles they drive rather than the gallons of gas they buy.
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 2017 and most of 2018, various topics have and will be considered as the RTP is updated. Those 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.

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 board calls for new I-5 bridge - October 16, 2018
The C-Tran Board of Directors is now the most recent Southwest Washington governing body to urge state leaders to take the earliest step of replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge. On Tuesday, the transit agency approved a resolution that “supports efforts to analyze all options available to reduce congestion in the region,” starting with the I-5 Bridge. It also urges Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Legislature to “adequately fund” the Washington State Department of Transportation’s analysis “of options for congestion reduction for the region, including the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge.” While the city of Vancouver, Clark County Council, all ports in the county and others have passed similar resolutions, C-Tran’s is different because it is the only public entity that directly uses the bridge on a daily basis — and that’s reflected in the document’s language.
Transportation council backs replacement for I-5 Bridge - October 2, 2018
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. It also notes the I-5 Bridge lacks high-capacity transit “with a dedicated guideway” and that “existing bi-state public transit,” i.e., C-Tran, “is inadequate to meet demand … and operates in mixed-traffic, which has significant negative impacts on performance and operational outcomes.” The resolution describes the I-5 Bridge spans as functionally obsolete and not meeting current seismic standards. It voices RTC’s support for a “multimodal approach of highway, high-capacity transit, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements to support the region’s travel needs.” It also urges Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature to give the Washington State Department of Transportation enough money to advance a replacement project.
Survey: Commuters want to stay behind wheel - October 1, 2018
The Pacific Northwest may have a reputation for bicycling and recycling. But a new survey that gauges the habits of Washington and Oregon commuters found that when it comes to driving to work, we’re nowhere close to giving up our steering wheels. A poll of 1,218 Pacific Northwest drivers found that an overwhelming majority, 94 percent, prefer to drive themselves to work as opposed to carpooling, biking or taking public transportation. “Northwest drivers, like many Americans, are reluctant to give up the wheel as an aspect of control, the ability to do things on their schedule,” said Derek Wing, a spokesman for PEMCO Insurance. PEMCO commissioned the study in June from FBK Research of Seattle, which surveyed a random sample of Washington and Oregon driver’s license holders through an online questionnaire. Lea Knight, owner of FBK Research, clarified that survey respondents were not drawn from a pool of PEMCO customers.
Tina Kotek: Oregon and Washington lawmakers should meet to talk Interstate Bridge - September 21, 2018
House Speaker Tina Kotek wants to sit down with Washington lawmakers before the end of the year with a simple goal: Talk about meeting again sometime in 2019 to discuss replacing the Interstate Bridge. “I know that might seem like a low bar,” Kotek said about talking about talking, “but that will get us started.” The Portland Democrat spoke Wednesday at a transportation forum in North Portland, saying she welcomes a renewed commitment from Washington legislators who appear ready to start talking about replacing the Interstate 5 bridge connecting the two states.
Oregon House Speaker spurs talks on Interstate Bridge - September 21, 2018
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek wants to sit down with Washington lawmakers before the end of the year to further discussions about replacing the Interstate Bridge, a newspaper reported Friday. The Portland Democrat said at a transportation forum this week that she welcomes a renewed commitment from Washington legislators who appear ready to start talking about replacing the Interstate 5 bridge connecting the two states, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The Interstate Bridge has been a sticking point between the neighboring states for years. In 2013, Washington declined to pay for its share of the controversial Columbia River Crossing Project, but lawmakers there recently supported a study to investigate what pieces of the failed project were still salvageable. Kotek is the latest Oregon lawmaker to say she’s ready to work with Washington again on the proposal.
Clark County Council calls for replacing I-5 Bridge - September 18, 2018
With some reluctance, the Clark County Council became the latest local government to approve a resolution calling for the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge. The council now joins the city of Vancouver and local ports in voicing support for the replacing the bridge and calling on state officials to provide funding for the project. Last year, Washington lawmakers attempted to restart talks with their Oregon counterparts about replacing the bridge, which is considered outdated. The resolution passed by the council notes the Interstate 5 corridor’s “national significance” and importance to commerce. Calling the bridge “functionally obsolete,” it states that the segment of I-5 between Vancouver and Portland experiences some of the worst congestion along the entire length of the corridor and sees frequent crashes. The resolution specifically calls for a lane for bus-rapid transit and improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Council divided over I-5 Bridge resolution - September 14, 2018
The demise of the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project undoubtedly set the future of a new Interstate Bridge on I-5 back several years, at least. In the five years since that project stalled out, costing taxpayers more than $170 million, traffic congestion has grown steadily worse, especially for the thousands who call Clark County home but work in Oregon. Now efforts are underway, on the Washington side of the Columbia River anyway, to revive the conversation over what to do with the 100-year-old I-5 Bridge. Recently, Vancouver City Council members approved a resolution stating their support for a new bridge project. In that statement, mass transit would be a key component of any bridge, including the possible extension of Light Rail into Clark County. At their council time meeting last week, the Clark County councilors debated their own version of that resolution, but struggled to find consensus on the language around mass transit, as well as whether tolls should be used to help fund a bridge replacement.
Port of Vancouver approves resolution calling for I-5 Bridge replacement - September 12, 2018
The Port of Vancouver approved a resolution supporting the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge on Tuesday. The resolution calls for Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Legislature to ”provide adequate funding to the Washington State Department of Transportation to materially advance project development“ for a replacement bridge. The resolution was approved 2-1. Commissioners Eric LaBrant and Don Orange voted yes. Commissioner Jerry Oliver voted no. Oliver cited the resolution’s statement of support of a “high-capacity transit with a dedicated guideway,” which he worried leaves open the possibility of light rail, as reason for voting against it.
Summit sounds alarm on I-5 Bridge, traffic congestion - August 28, 2018
More frequent crashes, more people waiting in longer and longer traffic jams and lost business productivity are just some of the many troubles associated with traveling the Interstate 5 Bridge today, and it won’t get any better unless a new crossing is built. That was the message at the Business Leaders Regional Transportation Summit, a symposium primarily focused on the transportation hindrances associated with the antiquated bridge, and getting across the message to political leaders that change is possible. “We want to shrink the size of the river and erase the state line,” Ron Arp, president of Identity Clark County, said before the beginning of the event, arguing that there was a clear business and government case to be made about why the bridge should be replaced. What that replacement would look like, however, was not the subject of the meeting. “This is about identifying a problem and heading toward a solution,” Arp said.