Regional Transportation Planning, Research, Investment Strategies, and Funding.

RTC’s Investment in Main Ave Pathway Taking Shape
In 2015, RTC awarded $148,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to Clark County to help fund the Ridgefield Main Avenue Pathway connector project from downtown Ridgefield to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. These funds were combined with other local and federal funds to create a significant access and safety improvement project that is taking shape in the summer of 2019. When complete the improvement project will create a separated multi-use pathway and upgraded fish passages along Main Avenue, fostering much needed safety and access improvement into the Wildlife Refuge.
Board Selects Bike and Pedestrian Projects for Funding
On July 2, the RTC Board of Directors selected three bike and pedestrian projects within Clark and Skamania Counties to receive approximately $2.35 million in federal Transportation Alternatives funding. All were community based projects that expand travel choices, improve the travel experience, and enhance mobility and safety. The projects are along 1st Street in Stevenson, and NE 68th Street and Hazel Dell Avenue in Clark County.
Clark County RTP: 2019 Update Adopted
The RTC Board of Directors adopted a 2019 update to the Regional Transportation Plan for Clark County at its March 5 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-plus year, transportation plan required by federal and state governments as a pre-condition for receipt of federal and state transportation funding to this region. Adoption of the 2019 Plan concluded an almost two-year process during which Plan elements, such as regional transportation policies, demographic projections, and transportation projects and strategies, were reviewed and updated.
Clark County’s Aging Population has Important Transportation Needs
The Clark County Commission on Aging has published a report highlighting the results of a years long effort to identify the County’s needs and to highlight potential strategies for helping aging residents access mobility options. This effort was running concurrent with RTC’s study of the residents social service needs and access to transportation mobility. RTC’s Human Services Transportation Plan and project recommendations was approved by the RTC Board in November 2018. Clark County’s Commission on Aging is hosting a community summit on February 21 to share their report recommendations and to foster community dialogue regarding taking action. RTC is a co-sponsor to this event and will participate in the summit.
Major Regional Roadway Connection Completed
Clark County is nearing completion of significant regional transportation system project on NE 10th Ave. When opened for traffic, the corridor will serve as a parallel arterial roadway route, serving local business and residential development growth planned for the Salmon Creek and Fairgrounds / NE 179th interchange areas. RTC was a funding partner to a series of projects in the NE 10th Ave corridor. RTC granted $1 million in seed funding to get the bridge design started on NE 10th Avenue over Whipple Creek (154th St. to 164th St). Design funds were obligated in 2013. RTC granted $1,840,000 for construction, for a total of $2.84 million for the bridge project. In addition, RTC granted $2.46 million on NE 10th Avenue for improvements between NE 141st St. and 149th St. (previously constructed and opened to traffic).
WSDOT Selects Regional Mobility Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently recommended that the Legislature fund one project in Clark County and one project in Klickitat County for a total of $5.22 million in Washington State Regional Mobility Grants. C-TRAN would receive $4.9 million to design and construct an I-5 southbound Bus on Shoulder project from NE 99th Street to the Interstate Bridge. MATS in Klickitat County will receive continuing funding of $320,000 to provide express fixed route service to improve connectivity between counties in the Columbia Gorge Region in both Washington and Oregon.
WSDOT Recommends Pedestrian and Bicycle Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently recommended that the Legislature fund two pedestrian and bicycle projects in the City of Vancouver. Under the Pedestrian and Bicycle Program, the City of Vancouver would receive $489,000 to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety on Devine Road. Under the Safe Routes to School Program, the City of Vancouver would receive $500,000 to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Northwest Vancouver neighborhood.
Transportation Improvement Board Grants Awarded
The Washington State TIB funds high priority transportation projects in communities throughout the state to enhance the movement of people, goods, and services. The City of Vancouver was awarded $3 million for transportation improvements on SE 1st Street, from SE 164th Ave. to SE 177th Ave. In addition, a total of $445,152 was awarded between Goldendale, White Salmon, and Stevenson to restore road surface at multiple locations.
Skamania Regional Transportation Plan Adopted
The RTC Board adopted a 2018 update to the RTP for Skamania County at its November 6 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-year, transportation plan. Adoption of the 2018 Plan concluded a year-long process during which Plan elements, such demographic projections and transportation improvements and strategies, were reviewed and updated. The region’s highest priority transportation improvements include enhancement of SR-14 near Cape Horn, SR-14 intersection improvements at Bridge of the Gods and Hot Spring Way, and rockfall protection.
Klickitat Regional Transportation Plan Adopted
The RTC Board adopted a 2018 update to the RTP for Klickitat County at its November 6 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-year, transportation plan. Adoption of the 2018 Plan concluded a year-long process during which Plan elements, such demographic projections and transportation improvements and strategies, were reviewed and updated. The region’s highest priority transportation improvements include replacement of the Hood River Bridge, All-Weather County Roads, and SR-14 in downtown Bingen.
Human Services Transportation Plan Updated
The 2018 update to the HSTP for Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties was recently completed. The intent of the HSTP is to identify the special transportation needs of people with disabilities, low income, the young, the elderly, and those in rural areas who cannot provide transportation for themselves.
RTC Board Awards $7.6 million to Fund Critical Transportation Projects
On October 2, the RTC Board selected 7 projects to receive approximately $7.6 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be programmed in 2022, and include funding for arterial improvements along 137th Ave., NE 99th St., and Grace Avenue. Funding will also be used for Bus Rapid Transit along Mill Plain Blvd. In addition to selecting grants, the RTC Board approved the 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $332 million in regional transportation investments over the next four years within Clark County.
Transportation Council Backs Replacement for I-5 Bridge
The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge with high-capacity transit with a dedicated guideway. The resolution, which was passed during the RTC’s meeting Tuesday evening, cites the crossing’s significance to the Vancouver-Portland metro area, the I-5 corridor, the West Coast and the nation, as well as the crippling traffic congestion it’s plagued with.

News Feed

Below are an assortment of recent news items related to or impacting local transportation issues. Most of these stories were authored outside the agency, and will take you to a new page on (or PDF document from) an external site.

Oregon kicks in $9 million for I-5 Bridge replacement - August 16, 2019
Oregon has provided $9 million toward operating an office to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge. The Oregon Transportation Commission, meeting Friday in Ashland, Ore., increased a proposed $5 million contribution to underscore the project’s importance and to come closer to the Washington Legislature’s $35 million contribution earlier this year. “I just want to make sure we are sending a message of interest and moving forward on this,” said Bob Van Brocklin, vice chairman of the five-member commission. “And not just a message to our partner state, but a message to our citizenry that we recognize this a major piece, a major element, of congestion relief.”
Oregon appoints eight to I-5 Bridge panel - August 14, 2019
Oregon is revving up efforts on the south side of the Columbia River to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge. Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek announced Wednesday they have appointed eight legislators to an I-5 Bridge committee. “That thing needs to be fixed,” Courtney, D-Salem, said in a phone interview. “I just want to get it done. … That bridge is in very bad shape, whether it’s earthquakes you are talking about or the volume of traffic.” Courtney said replacing the bridge “is so overdue” and “we don’t have time to play cutesy political games.” “If you lose that bridge, we don’t know what suffering is,” he said about an earthquake toppling the twin spans, which were built in 1917 and 1958. “We are going to be in a world of hurt.”
Ridgefield project to make it safer for pedestrians to access wildlife refuge, downtown - August 10, 2019
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge visitors have walked along winding Main Avenue in a ditch for years to reach the Carty Unit entrance, but that ditch will disappear in the next two months. Worked started this summer on the Ridgefield Main Avenue Access Improvements Project, a joint project between the refuge, city, Clark County and Federal Highway Administration to make it easier to get from downtown Ridgefield to the refuge. The project, expected to cost between $3 million and $5 million, will create dedicated bicycle and pedestrian access to the refuge from existing sidewalks near the Ridgefield city limits. It is being funded primarily by the Federal Highway Administration, which will contribute a bit more than $3.1 million. Other contributions for the project also came from the city, county and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region.
Highway 500 reconfiguration passes 6-month crash test - August 8, 2019
Preliminary numbers indicate nearly a 90-percent drop in vehicle crashes after the Washington State Department of Transportation removed two traffic signals on state Highway 500. The data support WSDOT’s decision to remove signals at Falk Road/42nd Avenue and Stapleton Road/54th Avenue and exceed the 70 percent expected reduction in crashes that state officials used prior to the traffic changes. There were 396 reported crashes at or near the two locations during a five-year period that ended Aug. 31. That’s an average of about 40 crashes in six months or slightly more than one crash every five days. During the first six months after the traffic signals were removed, through May, there were only four reported crashes at the same locations.
$1.7 million awarded for Northeast 68th Street sidewalk - July 21, 2019
Clark County’s plans to build a sidewalk along Northeast 68th Street in Hazel Dell have received a $1.7 million boost from the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council. The council’s board of directors earlier this month selected the project, plus another proposed sidewalk improvement in Hazel Dell and a third project in Skamania County, to receive funds through the federal transportation alternatives program. Building a sidewalk on Northeast 68th Street has been a longtime priority for area residents and the Northeast Hazel Dell Neighborhood Association.
County close to decision on development in 179th Street area - July 10, 2019
Clark County is zeroing in on a $66.5 million plan so developers can build more than 1,500 single-family houses, townhomes and apartments near the Northeast 179th Street corridor without the county raising property taxes. County officials have developed a string of options and corresponding costs for lifting “urban holding,” a planning designation that has blocked development across more than 2,200 acres near the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds until money has been allocated for road improvements. During a work session Wednesday, the Clark County Council heard about two new options that would fund the road improvements.
C-Tran named Transit System of the Year - July 9, 2019
The American Public Transportation Association has selected C-Tran as its Transit System of the Year for 2019. C-Tran CEO Shawn Donaghy said the award is “the highest honor a transit agency can receive in North America.” The announcement was made Tuesday in Vancouver. The Vancouver-based transit agency hosted a barbecue lunch and program for employees and community leaders.
Local View: Crossing Columbia River a vital issue - July 7, 2019
The ability to get from point A to point B in a reliable, safe, cost-effective way is central to Washington’s quality of life and strong economy. Transportation plans developed by local, regional, and state agencies ensure that our policies and investments work together to keep Washington moving. Washington Transportation Plan 2040 and Beyond, adopted recently by the State Transportation Commission, is a key part of our coordinated planning and investment. When my fellow transportation commissioners and I listened to input from constituents across the state as we were developing 2040 and Beyond, we heard growing concerns about transportation challenges people face and we also heard innovative ideas and strategies to address these challenges. The single topic receiving the most comments during the public review of 2040 and Beyond is the Washington-Oregon connection across the Columbia River.
Port, Partners and Community Open New Section of Bicycle/Pedestrian Pathway Along NW Lower River Road - July 2, 2019
A crowd of bicyclists, state and local partners, walkers and Port of Vancouver USA staff converged on a spot along Northwest Lower River Road today to cut the ribbon on a new section of bicycle/pedestrian pathway and celebrate improved connectivity for the community. The almost half-mile section of landscaped, asphalt path connects existing sections of trail along State Route 501/Northwest Lower River Road between the port’s administrative offices and Farwest Steel to the west. It’s one section of an overall path that, when fully complete, will extend 4.5 miles along SR 501.