Murray calls on local leaders to support I5 bridge with light rail

first_imgU.S. Sen. Patty Murray on Wednesday called on local business and political leaders to come together in support of a new Interstate 5 bridge with light rail.Murray, a Democrat elected to her fourth term in November, said she will fight for federal funding but said it will have to be matched by a local funding component. Project planners have identified a bridge toll as that local share.“This community is going to have to coalesce around a fair and responsible tolling system,” Murray said.Murray challenged tolling critics to identify an alternative.“You can’t just say ‘no’ to tolling without saying what you think the regional funding component ought to be,” Murray said during the noon hour visit to the Vancouver Convention Center.The lunch was sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Columbia River Economic Development Council and Identity Clark County.Alluding to the shooting in Arizona earlier this month, Murray encouraged local leaders to be willing to stand up to critics.“It isn’t easy to be an elected official these days,” Murray said. “We need local leaders to stand up and take a position.”Murray, who chairs a key Senate transportation committee, has laid the groundwork for the Federal Transit Administration to underwrite $850 million in transit funding to build an extension of Portland’s light-rail transit system in downtown Vancouver. C-Tran will ask voters in November to boost the sales tax to generate an estimated $2 million to $3 million annually needed to operate it.last_img

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