Yes, it does appear that very gradually, people on both sides of the Columbia River are waking up to the Bridge to Bankruptcy and opposing it. People that were wholeheartedly supporting it are backing up, looking closer and seeing that projections are off, the design is inferior, the location is wrong and the only reason it was ever began was a vehicle to force Clark County to accept Portland’s financially beleaguered light rail, steeped deeply in unfunded liabilities as I write.
Just this week, June 12, 2012 the Oregonian editorial board gave us Will Columbia River Crossing become the Procrustean Bridge?, where they compare the known shortcoming of insufficient river traffic clearance to the “mythological figure who lopped the limbs from unfortunate visitors so they’d fit his iron bed.”
Their editorial ends with,
“the fact that $140 million has been spent on an inadequate design is a poor argument for clinging to it. It’s a small fraction of the full cost of the project, which is expected to exceed $3 billion. And in the end, both Oregonians and Washingtonians should want a bridge that does what it’s supposed to — carry surface traffic across the river — without doing what it’s not supposed to — compromise traffic on the river.”
Just days earlier they reported, River users said Columbia River Crossing too low, and planner ignored them saying,
“In a 2004 survey of Columbia River users and again in a 2006 Coast Guard public hearing, the river users said a new I-5 span needed to be 100 to125 feet tall for them to sail underneath.”
“The Columbia River Crossing planners ignored the input and opted instead for 95 feet. The fateful blunder has put the project at odds with a handful of marine shippers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both of which need to sign off on the project.”
“The impasse may force the CRC to jettison the $3.1 billion current plan — seven years in the making — and design a higher bridge at a cost of $100 million-plus.”
This after already sucking up some $150 Million.
In March, the Columbian, the unofficial daily newsletter of the Democrat Party informed us,
“In a Senate transportation subcommittee meeting, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the problem — which could cost as much as $150 million to fix — a “little hiccup” that will not stop the $3.5 billion project.”
Yes, a major shortcoming is but a “little hiccup.”
Meanwhile, they were quick to run cover by telling us, CRC officials defend bridge height.
The “hiccup” caught the attention of Crosscut.com in Seattle as the posted For Columbia River Crossing, Coast Guard objections are just the beginning
June 13, 2012 the Oregonian, in a premonition of what our own C-Tran can expect told us, TriMet board kills Portland’s Free Rail Zone, raises fares, cuts bus service as Oregon fights to fill deep budget gaps and meet unfunded liabilities negotiated for the unions involved with Tri-Met after they rejected a proposed rollback of their overly generous benefits.
C-Tran employees would likely expect the same as their Oregon counterparts that would also likely put our Transportation in similar financial straits. Meanwhile, a conglomeration of self-appointed civic leaders draft a letter to lawmakers saying “find the money” to build it, ignoring the Great Recession we taxpayers know we are still in.
Marvin Case of the Reflector told us back in February 2012, C-TRAN strategy is bad government telling us the fancy footwork schemes that were being tried to impose a tax on Clark County residents while avoiding a vote if possible was gravely flawed.
“So for the last six years, thousands of county residents have paid C-TRAN taxes when they shop but have no voice in establishing the tax or the tax rate.”
“That was the case again last November when urban voters approved another .02 percent sales tax for C-TRAN, while those who don’t live in cities or the Vancouver UGA weren’t allowed to vote. It is the classic and onerous ‘taxation without representation’ that was opposed when this nation was born.”
Portland’s Willamette Week woke up long ago, running several in depth articles showing just how inept the CRC project has been as they ran articles from A Bridge Too False in June 2011 to The $2.5 Billion Bribe in February 2012 where we received confirmation for the first time of what many of us suspected all along, the sole reason for the bridge project from Portland’s Metro was to manipulate Clark County into accepting their light rail that we have rejected every time it has been brought to a vote in the past.
One that has not bought into the hype we have been fed concerning this project is successful businessman and now candidate for County Commissioner, David Madore, who launched Couv.com featuring several revelations. Mr. Madore hired an Independent Forensic Accountant to pour over CRC finances and who reported several disturbing findings, quickly marginalized by state officials.
On a cold January 2012 morning, a group of concerned citizens, and elected officials, many from Oregon who had formed the Smarter Bridge Committee, gathered on the north bank of the Columbia River in a press conference as speaker after speaker laid out their well informed reasons they have come to oppose the current project as designed as others offered viable and cheaper alternatives.
After the revelation of the design being insufficient to clear known river traffic and unable to meet the requirements of the both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers, several long time supporters, many of whom contacted me personally to say they could no longer support the project and now see our point and have joined us in opposition.
David Madore gave a simple suggestion in his March 2012 post, The unraveling of the Columbia River Crossing on opening people’s eyes. He said,
“There is an appropriate time to push the pause button. We will continue to inform our community of the situation and encourage citizens to help others learn about this unfolding story. What do we do? We start by spreading the word and speaking up. We work to elect new leadership and elect those that will protect the public treasury and insist on transparency, accountability and good sense.”
More and more people are opening their eyes to the CRC and their Bridge to Bankruptcy.
Now they only need open their eyes to current elected officials who continue to push this boondoggle, tax sucking, and ill-designed project off on us, all to force us to accept what we have rejected more than once.