60 Seconds with John Ley • John Ley Advocates for Roadway Expansion and New Bridges at RTC Meeting

June 5, 2024by John Ley1

At the June 4, 2024, Regional Transportation Council meeting, John Ley highlighted the challenges posed by Clark County’s growing population and the shift towards remote work. He criticized the delay in expanding roadways and planning new transportation corridors, emphasizing the need for immediate action to address traffic congestion. Ley argued against costly light rail projects and called for updated transit ridership projections, urging the Council to prioritize building new bridges and improving road infrastructure to prevent future gridlock and meet the region’s transportation needs.

Video transcript

Good afternoon.

At last month’s board meeting, we were told there’s a new normal.

Most people are working from home.

People have resumed driving, but significantly fewer people are using transit for work in Oregon.

We were told that Clark County has added 39,000 new citizens, the equivalent of a new Ridgefield, and new Battle Ground.

Yet, director Ransom told us we shouldn’t immediately look to expand freeways.

He told us, don’t run first to widen the roadway because you have a little congestion.

How long do we have to wait until you begin widening roadways?

How long do we have to wait until you begin planning new transportation corridors?

You never seem to answer that question.

It’s been half a century since planning was underway for a new transportation corridor.

It’s been over 40 years since a new transportation corridor and bridge over the Columbia River was built.

In 2008 you published the RTC visioning study.

It said when Clark County’s population reached 1 million, we would need two new bridges and transportation corridors over the Columbia River.

Today, we are 110,000 people closer to that million, with 39,000 people added in just four years.

We have over 520,000 people today.

If it takes 10 to 20 years to plan for and build a new bridge in transportation corridor.

When will you put those two new bridges into your 20 year transportation plan?

Will you wait until the population reaches 7 or 800,000 people?

By that time, will be stuck in complete gridlock.

Portland has the nation’s 12th worst traffic congestion.

Drivers and freight haulers will be cursing the lack of planning in the 21st century.

The new normal tells us we should not be spending 2 billion for a three mile light rail extension that could build 2 or 3 new bridges over the Columbia River.

We know that because Washington and Oregon will spend just $520 million to build a new bridge at Hood River and White Salmon.

Nobody believes the IBR’s fake numbers of 26 to 33,000 transit riders on the I-5 corridor by 2045, since there’s a new normal that includes no increase in cross river transit ridership, will you demand the IBR team update their projections on transit ridership?

Let’s do the math.

We’ve added 39,000 new people, but only two more people a day are riding the I-5, C-TRAN, express busses on an average day.

That should scream don’t waste money on high capacity transit right now.

The IBR is telling people that nearly half the new bridge structure will not be for cars and trucks and freight haulers.

They want to charge drivers tolls in order to pay for transit and biking, and pedestrian who might cross the river on the replacement bridge.

We must act now to relieve traffic congestion and save people time.

That is the people’s number one priority.

Thank you.

One comment

  • Lucia Worthington

    June 5, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    Excellent research and logic John. Thank you for your diligence. Lucia Worthington


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