Local leaders got private meeting with Mica

first_imgWhile the public was waiting just two blocks away, seven local elected officials spent 45 minutes Monday meeting with U.S. Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican who chairs the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.Clark County Commissioners Marc Boldt and Steve Stuart, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo, Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow, Washougal Mayor Sean Guard and Woodland Mayor Chuck Blum all met with Mica, committee member Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and committee member Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas.The meeting was 8 a.m. at Herrera Beutler’s office on Officers Row, near the Clark Public Utilities building where more than 250 people showed up for a 9 a.m. “listening session” on how to meet the nation’s crumbling infrastructure needs. The pre-session meeting was hastily arranged at the end of last week, said Casey Bowman, Herrera Beutler’s spokesman.“It was all part of a larger effort to get to hear about our local challenges,” Bowman said Tuesday. “(The local officials) represent constituents throughout Clark County,” he said.Leavitt said Tuesday the meeting was a good opportunity to talk about concerns over regulations, financing and investments.They discussed funding alternatives, knowing that federal gas tax revenues are not keeping pace with the need for investments. Leavitt said Mica and Shuster brought up tolling, a controversial aspect of the Columbia River Crossing project.“(They said) the reality is that tolling is a fact of life in many parts of the country and tolling is a fact of life (elsewhere) in the state of Washington,” Leavitt said. “Tolling is certainly one way to garner local public financing.” Stuart and Boldt also said they appreciated the chance to air local concerns. Legally problematicThe meeting did put them in violation of the state’s open public meeting laws because a quorum of county commissioners attended without public notice. There’s no penalty for violating the law, however.last_img read more