Getting Our Economy Moving

Mark Hargrove | September 23, 2010 (Updated May 31, 2012)

We're all aware of the irritation that traffic congestion causes in our lives. And I recognize how mass transit such as buses and trains are a part of the solution. However, as I talk with my friends and neighbors, the common sentiment is that we want mass transit so other people will use them, so our roads are less congested for us to drive our cars. Solving our traffic congestion problem will improve our quality of life, allow more time with our families and improve the environment by reducing the amount of time cars spend on the road.

Solving our traffic congestion problem will improve our quality of life, allow more time with our families and improve the environment by reducing the amount of time cars spend on the road.

But perhaps more important to consider in today's economy is the impact traffic congestion has on jobs. Our ports and many other businesses count on our ability to move goods to be profitable. Our port traffic is down significantly in part because traffic congestion impedes the movement of goods through our region. Quite frankly, a port that can guarantee that goods will move through the area more quickly is more likely to get the business of a company moving goods from Asia to the Midwestern states.

Extending Highway 167 south all the way to I-5, improving interchanges at highway intersections, and providing more lanes along various routes must be priorities for improving traffic congestion and getting our economy "moving."

And to get this accomplished we need to bring down the cost of these projects. Widening Kent-Kangley Road from two lanes to four over Jenkins Creek is going to cost $12 million! By allowing for competitive bidding at market rates and eliminating excessive environmental studies and mitigations, we will be half way to solving the problem of paying for the transportation projects our economy needs.