Riders react to possible extension of MAX to Vancouver

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 7:03 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - The transportation committee working on plans to replace the I-5 bridge is recommending that light rail transit be incorporated into the massive project that will join Portland’s MAX train system with Washington state.

Currently, busses are the only public transportation option to cross between the states.

President Joe Biden spoke about the need to replace the bridge on Thursday when he visited Portland.

Right now, the program is still in the planning phase under the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, an organization that reports back to both the Oregon and Washington departments of transportation.

Both states pitched in a combined $80 million last year to shape the project’s goals and design.

The bridge’s new construction wouldn’t start for three more years, but current proposals include expanded lanes, more efficient interchanges and ramps, a tolling system from ODOT, and the light rail for mass transportation.

“I think it would be awesome,” Larry Fernandez, a C-TRAN rider who lives in Portland and commutes to Vancouver, said. “It would help get us over here a little quicker.”

Another rider said he is partially disabled and relies on public transportation.

“It would mean that I would go into Portland more, so that would be interesting,” Kevin Fuller said. “It would extend the boundaries of my travels.”

One C-TRAN rider said he doesn’t want to see the light rail system come into the city because he worries it will bring Portland’s crime and homelessness issues into Vancouver.

And that’s the rub, too, for the project’s most vocal critic: Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler opposes bringing the light rail into the city.

She sent FOX 12 a statement Friday that said:

The city of Vancouver announced Thursday that it supports bringing the light rail across the river.