The port and its tenants require good freight mobility: the ability to move materials and products via road, water and rail.
Road congestion is a major issue in Clark County and is getting worse. Freight haulers are particularly affected. It’s very expensive to have their rigs stuck in commuter traffic or waiting for a bridge lift to clear. The solutions to this problem will take money, time, and sustained advocacy from the port commissioners. Jack will make this an area of focus as one of your port commissioners. His background in business, engineering, government, and transportation makes him uniquely suited to help tackle this tough problem.
The I-5 bridge congestion is getting worse by the day and there are almost daily accidents that tie up traffic. The ancient drawbridge must be replaced as soon as possible. Additional river crossings are needed - but many don’t realize that our current transportation corridors are at capacity so we must build a new transportation corridor before we could add additional crossings. A new corridor will be very expensive and will involve putting a new road through many existing homes and businesses. Within these constraints, we must first replace the I-5 bridge.
The Washington State Legislature funded projects to improve Mill Plain (aka SR-501) from I-5 to the port and replace the Mill Plain/I-5 interchange, but the funds aren’t immediately available. These two projects will help freight haulers, especially for large loads such as wind turbines. It’s important to keep those projects on schedule and advocate for getting the funds from the state earlier than currently programmed.
Fourth Plain and other streets in Vancouver are affected by freight traffic headed to and from the port. The port has been working with the City of Vancouver and other transportation partners to explore the feasibility of a 32nd Ave Extension. That is a critical project for both the future efficient use of port property and for reducing the impact of trucks on neighborhoods when they use alternate routes to get to the Port.
Maintaining navigability of the Columbia River system is important because of its critical role of navigation for the regional economy and international trade. The channel was deepened to 43 feet several years ago and this depth must be maintained. Jack will ensure the port’s Strategic Plan statement continues to be followed - “Ensure long-term accessibility to a navigable waterway that supports the size and depth of cargo ships, barge traffic, and leisure cruises within the port’s market sectors.”
The port has made a significant investment in rail improvements: $275 million over the last decade. The West Vancouver Freight Access Project was completed last year, adding over 40 miles of track to the port facilities and significantly reducing freight congestion on the BNSF rail line. The project is complete. Now the port needs to recruit a great company to use that new asset and bring many long-term, family wage jobs to our community.