This is the third and final installment of an exclusive "interview" with Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt. See the previous installments here and here.
Today the man who ran and won the race for Mayor based on a No Tolling platform for the Columbia River Crossing Bridge and Light Rail project, says tolling is inevitable--even without light rail, the big ticket item.
Leavitt is scheduled to come on The Victoria Taft Show today.
These comments have not been edited for content:
I've heard it said that removal of light rail transit on this project means that tolls will not be necessary.
That statement is patently false.
Consider this hypothetical scenario:Remove light rail from the project. Then, the overall bridge/interchange project cost is estimated to cost $2.2 billion +/-.We know this: The FHWA has tacitly [emphasis editor's] committed $400 million and the States are committed to about $500 each.Total of those are $1.4 billion.There is still some $800 million unaccounted for....that is where the local-local share comes in.Point is, the LRT [Light Rail] component of this project is an [sic] entirely separate from the necessity for a local-local funding mechanism.
Leavitt contacted me about giving his input after Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt came on the program and talked about his letter to the Department of Transportation. The letter called on the WASHDOT to quickly fulfill its obligation to create a tolling advisory commission. See his letters to WASHDOT nearby:
So, do you have any questions for the Mayor? Is tolling inevitable as the Mayor claims? Or have the powers that be become so tangled up in getting funding for light rail that everything--including funding mechanisms--are set up to only achieve that goal?
This is the crux of the Commissioners letter to the Washington State Transportation Commission. Unfortunately, based on your interview...I don't believe Commissioner Boldt clearly articulated this matter. State Law (RCW 47.56.840) indicates that a tolling advisory committee may be created at the direction of the tolling authority as an advisory committee to the tolling authority. The tolling authority is the State Transportation Commission. The Commissioners request was that a local advisory committee be formed by the Transportation Commission with a goal to better inform the discussion about tolling rates/applicability. The Commission doesn't have to form this advisory committee....the Commissioners, in their letter, have simply requested that the Commission do so.I hope this detail is helpful to you and for your listeners.