Jaime Herrera Beutler today released the following statement on Proposition 1, a vote that will go before C-Tran service district voters in November:
"Under the rules created by the sponsors of the Columbia River Crossing project, Proposition 1 is the one and only opportunity the citizens of Clark County will have to tell their elected officials whether they are willing to pay for the maintenance and operation of light rail in Clark County. Since coming to Congress I have fought diligently to make sure the voters were granted their say on this issue, and I plan to take the results of Proposition 1 very seriously.
"One way or another, the taxpayers of Clark County would pay for the maintenance and operation of light rail under the current bridge design. It is unfortunate that the voters have not had the opportunity to weigh in until this far into the planning process, but now that their voices will finally be heard it would be a mistake not to listen.
"I believe we need to replace the I-5 bridge. It is part of the Interstate Highway system and is crucial to maintaining and expanding commerce on the West Coast from Canada to Mexico. The bridge must be updated to keep up with economic expansion and job growth.
"However, light rail is another matter. MAX light rail is a local system. Its economic impacts are limited to the light rail service area, and the people of Clark County should absolutely be able to decide for themselves whether they want to be a part of it.
"I will keep fighting at the federal level for a new I-5 bridge, but if Proposition 1 fails I will oppose any attempt to finance light rail into Clark County that does not win the approval of county voters. I am a servant, and not a master, of the people I represent."