Letter Originally Dated July 1, 2008

(posted 12:15 AM, July 9, 2008)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter, dated July 1, 2008, to officials in the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed the Interstate 5 Columbia River Crossing Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation. We are submitting comments in accordance with our responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 309 of the Clean Air Act.”

“The Columbia River Crossing (CRC) DEIS is a bridge, transit, and highway improvement project proposed by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation (ODOT and WSDOT), Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), Metro, Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Area (C-TRAN), and Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet) to improve safety and mobility in the I-5 corridor between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. The CRC project is focused on a five mile segment of the I-5 corridor from SR 500 in Vancouver to approximately Columbia Boulevard in Portland. The alternatives include the No Action alternative and four multi-modal action alternatives. The action alternatives each contain similar highway improvements, high capacity transit in the form of either Light Rail Transit
(LRT) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) with several transit alignment and length options, and either replace or supplement the existing bridges over the Columbia River. Each action alternative also improves bicycle and pedestrian facilities, considers tolling on the bridges, and implements
transportation system management and demand measures (TSM and TDM).”

“EPA is generally supportive of this project, however we have concerns about certain aspects of the project as represented in the draft EIS. EPA commends the project proponents for proposing a multi-modal project and tolling along with Transportation System Management and Transportation
Demand Management (TSM/TDM) measures. These are positive steps to reduce single occupancy vehicle (SOV) travel as well as to expand, diversify, and help to fund the transportation system. We also appreciate being involved in the InterCEP process, where, to the extent resources allowed, we offered comments regarding several natural resource aspects of the project. Our scoping comment letter of 12/14/05 identified additional points of interest for EPA. As a result of our review, we are primarily concerned about:”


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