Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on September 18th, 2009 at 10:46 am
Portland Mayor Sam Adams issued a statement this morning saying that he can no longer support a $4 billion, 12 lane replacement for the freeway bridge over I-5.
Adams states that for “reasons both fiscal and political, I believe I believe the ground has recently shifted under the proposal for a new I-5 Columbia River Crossing (CRC).” He calls for a return to the drawing board to come up with a smaller, less expensive project.
In tempering his support, Adams cites shortfalls in available funding for the project; the erosion of Vancouver’s political support for tolling the bridge (one of the mayoral candidates in their current election is dead set against tolls); his increased concerns about Vancouver’s support for light rail across the river.
Without tolling and light rail, Adams says, the induced demand created by a new, 12 lane bridge would dump untenable amounts of traffic onto Portland’s streets.
The Oregonian’s street edition today bears a front-page story detailing the financial and political blows that are increasingly falling on the CRC project. Dylan Rivera reports that $1 million per month has been spent so far on CRC planning.
Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, who has supported the project, told Rivera that the cross-river alliance is “falling apart” due to each side’s unwillingness to compromise.
But Adams told Rivera, “I’d rather settle for a bad bridge for another 25 years than a terrible bridge that punishes Portland for another 100 years.”
Adam’s suspension of support comes less than a month after the Bicycle Transportation Alliance withdrew from the planning process for the bicycle and pedestrian portion of the bridge, calling the project process “deaf to community input,” and renewing its disavowal of the 12 lane proposal.
– Read Adams’ full statement here.
– The Oregonian article detailing more of the political background is here
– The Mercury jubilantly interviews Adams in a blog post this morning about his change of heart.
– The Columbia River Crossing project website is here
– Also see our past coverage of the CRC, its opposition, and proposed alternatives.