July 28th, 2010 | Published in News
A 10- or 12-lane Columbia River Crossing bridge with light rail but no rush-hour tolls each way would result in just modest population extra growth over the next 20 years than if nothing were done, a Metro regional government analysis concluded.
The study, released Wednesday, considered the travel time benefits and projected household and employment distribution in future years based on a macroeconomic model.
The analysis compared population and job growth through 2030 considering the variables of building no new bridge, or building a bridge with light rail and either variable tolls that rise to $2 at rush hour, or no tolls at all.
With tolls, the study found, “Clark County would have nearly 1,000 more households with the project in 2030 than it would have in the no-build scenario, growing to a total 250,600 households. That’s an increase of about one-third of 1 percent over the number of Clark County households in the no-build scenario. As of 2005, the county had 147,724 households. Northern Clark County would have virtually no household growth compared with the no-build scenario.”
Without tolls, the number of new households rises to 1,800 over the no-build scenario, with about a third of that growth in northern Clark County.
The study also found slight differences in job growth between toll and no-toll options. With $2 rush-hour tolls, the CRC would generate a 1.5 percent employment gain in North Portland, over the no-build scenario. “North and Northeast Portland would have 1,700 more jobs with the project in 2030 than the area would have in the no-build scenario, climbing to a total 112,600.”
With no toll, North and Northeast Portland would have nearly 1,500 more jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent over the no-build scenario, while Southern Clark County would have nearly 1,000 more jobs.
The study also noted, “Though the I-5 corridor has been identified as a national priority, 90 percent of trips across the river begin and end within the four county Portland-Vancouver region.”