Posts tagged ‘WSDOT’

October 11, 2013

Carolyn Crain, The Ugly Side of the CRC

by lewwaters

Clark County, Vancouver, Washington citizen Carolyn Crain, speaking about the ugly underside of the Columbia River Crossing light rail project from Portland, Oregon being forced upon Washington State citizens against their will

October 11, 2013

Tiffany Couch Testimony before Trans Committee Hearing

by lewwaters

Forensic Auditor Tiffany Couch speaks before the Washington State Senate Transportation Committee “Listening” Hearing, October 7, 2013 held in Vancouver, Washington.

May 23, 2013

UPDATED: CRC Proponents, Lazy C Not Letting a Good Crisis Go To Waste

by lewwaters

UPDATE: Not shown on the front page of the May 24 Columbian addressing the “collapse,” but admitted in a separate but smaller article online, North Wash. I-5 bridge collapse caused by oversize load. While this is being used to inflame the CRC debate and hammer opponents, not one thing in the CRC plans would have prevented such an accident from happening. And in fact, given the inadequate river clearance of the current design, such an accident is more likely to happen if a ship or barge struck the lower level trying to pass underneath.

Skagit Bridge CollapseSad news to hear of the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River up in Skagit County collapsing this evening. We pray that early reports of only minor injuries hold up and that no one lost their life.

A bridge collapse is never good news and must be taken seriously, given that we depend on these bridges to travel to and fro.

But, knee-jerk reactions to further a political agenda or justify bankrupting middle class taxpayers must be stood up to and not allowed to sway emotions to vote to increase taxes where they are not needed.

Within minutes of the news of the bridge collapsing the Lazy C had their article up, complete with their spin of information used to justify coercing opponents of the Columbia River Crossing light rail project to cave and cease our opposition, lest it happen here, as they have tried to claim is imminent unless we accept Portland’s financially failing light rail into our community.

March 1, 2013

How Many Mistakes Will It Take to Bankrupt the Middle Class?

by lewwaters

MIstake 1None of us get through life without making mistakes, messing up on something that we end up going back and redoing or fixing. Mistake happen to all of us and let’s face it that is why pencils all have erasers on them, so we can erase a mistake and rewrite it.

But we seem to learn from our mistakes and do our best not to repeat them, especially ones that end up costing us more money than we were prepared to spend.

We don’t seem to see that “learn from our mistakes” attitude in many public/private ventures like the Columbia River Crossing, though. Even though it is crammed with mistakes, the CRC attitude is more of ignore them and forge ahead, regardless of what it will end up costing taxpayers.

To date the CRC has cost over $160 Million and been spread out over a decade and still doesn’t have a design adequate to gain a Coast Guard permit to build the bridge for light rail due to insufficient clearance for river traffic. Somehow, planners ignored that at least 3 current businesses upriver require much more clearance to fit their products under the current bridge between Clark County Washington and Portland, Oregon, even though they were aware of it years go.

January 31, 2013

Elected Officials Raise More Questions On CRC

by lewwaters

CRCFrom 3rd Congressional District Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, to 17th Legislative District Senator Don Benton and to 14th Legislative District Senator Curtis King, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, critical questions are beginning to be asked and recommendations made to clear up the many discrepancies surrounding the Columbia River Crossing project.

Senator Benton has long been a critic, having seen early on in the project that it could not live up to promises or expectations and would be a massive waste of tax dollars as planned. His calls and cries for reining the project and the steady flow of tax dollars in, over $160 Million to date, have been largely ignored and cast aside as what now appears to be the biggest swindle ever to hit Southwest Washington forged ahead amidst growing public opposition.

January 8, 2013

HCT Act; is C-Tran in Compliance?

by lewwaters

C-TranSubmitted by Robert Dean

Actions and public statements from C-Tran indicate that they are aware of RCW 81.104 but either did not take it seriously or forgot many of its provisions. Similarly, CRC officials acknowledged the Act but did not plan the Project accordingly.

CRC Co-Director, Don Wagner, observed in 2010 that each one year delay in construction costs the public $100 million with 3% inflation. When he made that observation  he was expecting the C-Tran public vote on funding operations to take place that fall. If he had been familiar with the Act he would not have had that expectation.

C-Tran has recently scurried to comply with the Act:

December 10, 2012

Transportation Dollars Fall Short, Let’s Add School Buses

by lewwaters

BusThe election is over and once again, voters have chosen to keep the State of Washington under the grip of the tax & spend Progressive Democrats, apparently not the least bit concerned over their own financial situation of falsely believing someone else will just walk outside and harvest money off of their money tree to fund whatever dream those tax & spend Progressives come up with, unable to live within their means.

Two areas that have been contentious are transportation and education, neither ever having adequate funding for whatever is dreamt up or claimed needed by proponents.

Just today I received an email from the Washington State Transportation Commission for a survey addressing “Tolling and Road Usage Charge Assessment Study,” to weigh the public’s opinion on just where more tax revenue should be raised.

October 17, 2012

Columbian Ignores Appearance of Corruption Surrounding CRC

by lewwaters

Thanks to the work of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch and County Commissioner candidate David Madore, the veil wrapped around the Columbia River Crossing Project is gradually being peeled back, not that you will ever read of word of it in the local newspaper of record, the Columbian.

While the Oregonian, the Reflector and the Willamette Week have all published articles and reports critical of the CRC, the Columbian continues to provide cover, ignoring or minimizing recent reports and evidence uncovered and released by Ms. Couch, writing them off as “more of the same.”

They are not.

A previous report covered the potential violation of Washington State Open Meetings Laws, but a subsequent report released on October 12, 2012 delves even deeper into the darkness we have seen associated with the CRC.

Ms. Couch raises several questions that remain unanswered and, not even asked by the Columbian who proudly boasts on their front page, “Serving Clark County, Washington.”

Just who in Clark County is served is debatable.

March 7, 2012

Is Congresswoman Herrera Beutler Paying Any Attention?

by lewwaters

Totally unbelievable that as more and more revelations of incompetence keep being revealed, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, in who’s district the bridge is located seems to be completely oblivious to what continues being revealed. A partial list can be seen in my recent posts here and here or simply scanning through current editions and archives of Couv.com and the Willamette Week, particularly articles by Nigel Jaquiss.

With all of the revelations of the bridge not supply sufficient clearance for river traffic, the Oregon Supreme Court admitting the prime reason for the project was to overcome Clark County’s objection to light rail, traffic estimates being wrong that proposed tolling is based upon, questionable financing and accounting and many more problems facing this $3.6 Billion boondoggle, what does our freshman 3rd Congressional District do?

Send out the following mailer, of course.

March 7, 2012

CRC and WSDOT: Defending the Indefensible

by lewwaters

After years of “studies” and planning, not to mention sinking nearly $150 Million of taxpayer money into the abyss we call the Columbia River Crossing project, revelations previously marginalized, if not hidden, seem to be coming forth in a rapid pace. By all appearances, more and more it shows that we “Hounds of Whinerville,” citizens and business owners who have spoken against this boondoggle have been largely correct in their warnings.

The appearance of gross incompetence of this project is almost unimaginable. That anybody would even attempt to defend this high level of incompetence is even more unbelievable. But, with every revelation that has come out, that is exactly what some elected leaders and directors of the WSDOT and CRC continue to do.

How can we forget the abysmal treatment of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch after her independent audit of what documents she received from CRC pertaining to the finances of the project raised several red flags? Questionable payments, unaccounted for funds, questionable accounting practices all swept under the rug as WSDOT used two of their top level people to review her findings before writing them off and claiming theirs was an “independent review.”

Tie that to the claims of 49th legislative district representative Jim Moeller who said of her findings, “In a project of such huge scale and complexity, at least some errant billing and bookkeeping is inevitable,” before demeaning Ms. Couch with, “I think that Tiffany is doing the job she was hired to do, and that’s stop the project” questioning her objectivity due to her being hired by successful businessman David Madore, a critic of the project.

But who questions Moeller’s “objectivity” what with the project being in his district?

February 28, 2012

TriMet GM Sees A Problem, Will CRC and C-Tran Take Note?

by lewwaters

The excessively high cost and expense of the Columbia River Crossing project is no secret. This blog, other Conservative blogs such as Clark County Politics, Couv.com and even the Columbian sometimes have spoken about it.

The Oregonian, Willamette Week and the Reflector in Clark County have lent their voices to the problems seen by citizens and some elected officials, to no avail. Any and all voices are written off as “designed to stop the project” of replacing the aging Interstate Bridges and dragging Portland’s financially ailing Light Rail into Clark County, even though 3 times in the past voters indicated in election we did not want it.

Even an independent forensic audit was soon shoved aside by WSDOT officials who seem to have no problem with millions of our tax dollars being unaccounted for in this project.

Tiffany Couch, the forensic auditor stands behind her report.

Couv.com recently informs us of how business owners downtown Vancouver are being left “in the lurch” as CRC admits their scheduled date of 2013 to start likely will not happen until 2014 or later.

They also inform us of officials looking for new ways to squeeze funds out of citizens for transportation upgrades, realizing there just is not funds readily available in this “Great Recession.”

So what possible problem could Portland’s TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane see that hasn’t been already seen?

February 18, 2012

CRC and C-TRAN Can’t See the ‘Elephant in the Room’

by lewwaters

Undaunted by questions and growing opposition from taxpayers, the Columbia River Crossing and C-Tran continue to forge ahead with the multi-billion dollar project, ignoring or casting aside just about every single concern of taxpayers, business owners, elected officials, engineers, just about any and every person looking at this albatross and our economy and saying, ‘wait a minute.’

As was previously shown, an independent analysis of CRC finances raising several pertinent questions was instantly dismissed and the forensic accountant hired to wade through a “document dump” received through a FOIA request disparaged and demeaned.

As evidenced by the following Columbian video, Washington State Department of Transportation Director Paula Hammond makes no bones in her criticism of the analysis,

You can read more on Ms. Hammonds’ defending CRC over on the Columbian at Transportation agency defends work on CRC with additional video and coverage at Official: 2013 CRC start date not likely.

February 10, 2012

Columbia River Crossing, The Bridge To Bankruptcy

by lewwaters

Bridges almost always end up with nick names as taxpayers cast aside the official designated name and express their views of them through locally attached names. We saw that with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge nicknamed “Galloping Gertie” due to peculiar gyrations and pitching those crossing experienced before it collapsed in a wind storm just 4 months after it opened in November 1940.

Sometimes the name is complimentary, such as “The Bridge of the Gods” up by Cascade Locks and sometimes the name expresses disgust at a high cost that isn’t justifiable, such as Alaska’s Gravina Island Bridge nicknamed “A Bridge To Nowhere” since it was projected to cost $398 million to connect Ketchikan with Gravina Island, a small community of about 50 people and a small single runway airport, accessed by ferry in about 7 minutes.

Locally, we have the Columbia River Crossing seeking to replace the aging but serviceable spans of the I-5 Bridge across the Columbia River connecting Washington and Oregon that with the forced inclusion of extending Portland’s financially troubled Max Line light rail a short distance into Vancouver is projected to cost about $4 Billion, before figuring in interest on bonds and the to be expected cost overruns. Once those are added, it is estimated to cost upwards of $10 Billion or more.

Saying the project is contentious is an understatement as it has been brought up in every political campaign for a number of years now. Current Vancouver mayor, Tim Leavitt campaigned heavily on not tolling residents for the bridge project, only to totally reverse his stand almost as soon as he was announced the winner. Our nickname for him now is “Tim ‘the liar’ Leave-it,” indicating how Vancouver citizens are disgusted with him and want him to leave office.

January 24, 2012

Professor Dean Addresses CRC Concerns to Herrera Beutler

by lewwaters

Robert Dean, know for his humorous posts here concerning the state of our community in regards to CRC also has very serious side and is very serious on concerns of the potential damage this massive, overly expensive project could cause our community.

With the release of Forensic Accountant Tiffany Couch’s assessment of CRC handling of financing and seeing how WSDOT and CRC are going into damage control mode, we taxpayers who will be forced to pay for this monstrosity deserve answers, not more rhetoric.

In that light, Dean has addressed many of these concerns with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler in a letter he has authorized to be shared with the public.

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