The Smarter Bridge Committee is holding an informational event at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Vancouver Landing. The event will focus on a bridge that is right size, right price, right place.

The 24-member committee has been meeting for several months, and member Sharon Nasset said members include elected officials. Until now, its work has been done behind the scenes but members feel now is the time to be more visible.

Public gathering in Vancouver WASH

The Smarter Bridge Committee hopes to draw a large crowd to its Thursday event. Picture from another event in Vancouver.

“All citizens in the region are welcome to this event put on by citizens seeking an “efficient, environmentally friendly, and fiscally sound Columbia River Crossing,” says Nasset.

Top speakers will have one minute to address issues relating to the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project (CRC).

The venue, Vancouver Landing Park – an amphitheater on the Columbia River just west of the Red Lion at the Quay – offers a striking view of the Columbia River and the speakers will stand within view of the interstate bridge to make “surprising statements,” says Nasset, who thinks the CRC’s own data demonstrates the fallibility of the project.

“Their data show they’re not going to relieve congestion. They’re going to be removing, perhaps, 300 pieces of property or more; 89 businesses, and of those 89 businesses we know 600 jobs in Jantzen Beach…and 50 businesses on the Vancouver side (will be lost),” says Nasset.

The exact numbers have been difficult to pin down, she says. “It’s convoluted, and I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while.” She also notes that even though a business may not be removed, it will suffer as it vies for consumers in an area slogged with construction issues. “Businesses that don’t get taken are affected by the people who avoid construction.”

She also questions the NEPA process and how that has played out.

“There is about five different alternatives that were not studied that are reasonable, prudent and feasible. It’s supposed to show impacts and benefits to everybody involved,” says Nasset. “That’s part of our civil rights.”

Nasset hopes the event will raise awareness that there are better alternatives that will provide faster transportation options. She hopes the public will be inspired to write their legislators and say that the CRC needs to stop spending money until financing has been secured.

Nationally known transportation expert John Charles will present why light rail is an egregious answer for the transportation issues of the area.

“It’s like pushing manual typewriters in the age of Twitter,” says Charles.

Listen to our interview with Sharon Nasset at the top of this post.

See our continuing coverage of the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project.

Do you have information to share on the CRC? To respond anonymously call 260-816-1426. To allow your comments to be used on COUV.COM call 260-816-1429.