This HIA, led by the Multnomah County Health Department in collaboration with several other organizations, examined the health impacts of proposed alternatives for a renovation and expansion of the Interstate 5 Columbia River crossing between Oregon and Washington. The HIA was completed to inform an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project being undertaken by the Department of Transportation. The HIA and health-based recommendations were submitted as a detailed comment letter during the public comment period for the draft EIS. The health issues considered mode of transportation (e.g., car versus public transportation or cycling); opportunities for exercise, traffic safety, air quality, noise and illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease; and the potential for impacts on vulnerable people such as children, the elderly and low-income families. Recommendations include, maximizing the use of light rail transportation and ensuring that any transit lines serve vulnerable communities; prioritizing the development of safe, accessible bike and pedestrian facilities; employing strategies, such as the use of toll roads and peak travel time restrictions, to decrease the number of single occupancy motor vehicle trips made; and proposing air quality and noise pollution standards that achieve the maximum practicable protection for the public's health and particularly for vulnerable populations. The HIA also proposed indicators to allow ongoing monitoring and management of any changes in health or health risk factors that might occur when the project is built.
Oregon legislators approved funding for the Columbia River Crossing in early 2013. The Washington State Senate adjourned for the year on June 29, 2013 and did not vote on a $10 billion transportation package. That package included $450 million of funding for the Columbia River Crossing project and an increase in the gas tax to fund other large transportation projects.