Joel Rubin, CFM’s federal affairs vice president, walked through President-elect Donald Trumps’ transportation and infrastructure investment plan in a presentation this week to the Vancouver City Council. CFM represents the City of Vancouver at the federal level.
City officials are interested in seeing if there is a way to revive the replacement of the I-5 Columbia River Bridge under Trump’s $1 trillion proposal.
While the proposal won’t be formally advanced to Congress until next year when Trump takes office, Rubin said there are critical considerations to get the bridge back on the radar screen. One is the Trump’s plan to rely heavily on public-private partnerships. Another is the need for broad state, regional and local consensus on a project.
“It’s hard to build a project if the local constituency is in opposition to it,” Rubin said, as rerouted by The Columbian that covered his presentation.
The previous effort collapsed when Washington officials declined to provide funding, in part because of mixed local opinions on whether to extend light rail from Portland into Vancouver. Oregon officials have said a new bridge must include room for light rail. Washington lawmakers in 2015 also directed a big chunk of money to Puget Sound transportation projects.
Rubin said the Trump proposal doesn’t appear to cover equipment needed to address a crude oil spill, a top City priority in light of the Vancouver Energy trans-shipment project proposed at the Port of Vancouver.
Rubin reported that he has worked closely with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler to land a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for hazardous material operations, training and advance planning.
Rubin also noted his work on behalf of the City to lobby for legislation to accelerate the phaseout of old oil tanker cars, speed up application of the latest train braking technology and create standards for volatility before crude oil can be shipped by rail.