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SW Washington Republicans: Let’s start over on CRC project

Posted by on November 8th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

U.S. House T & I hearing-7
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler wants the
CRC to go back to the drawing board.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Columbian just reported a whopper of a story about the Columbia River Crossing project:

It’s time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Columbia River, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and several other Republican lawmakers from Southwest Washington, said in a statement issued today.

Rep. Beutler and nine other Republican politicians in southwest Washington are feeling emboldened after the elections and the rejection of Proposition 1 (a tax from C-Tran that would have provided operating funds for light rail on the CRC).

The statement lists several of the project’s nagging problems and lawmakers say without a re-design they can support, the project is never going to happen. Here’s an excerpt (download the letter here):

“We want this process to move forward, but it’s time for compromise. Rather than issue ultimatums over what Clark County residents must accept, the CRC must produce a design that can earn the support of communities that rely on the I-5 roadway and Columbia River. That is the only way this needed project will succeed.”

It’s fascinating at this stage — after we, taxpayers, have spent almost $200 million planning for this mega-project — to have such high-level leaders asking for a re-start.

And what type of design do Rep. Herrera Beutler and her colleagues want to see? They didn’t offer any specifics, but they are not fans of light-rail or tolls or bikeways — three things folks on the Oregon side have said are must-haves.

This news comes after the CRC’s funding picture was made even cloudier on election night. But despite the bad news on the funding side of things, in terms of lawmakers that actually support the project, the election was a boost. One of the project’s largest critics in Salem, Jefferson Smith, won’t return his old job after losing the race for Portland Mayor. Democrats — many of them that have voted to support the CRC in the past — picked up control of the House. With a CRC-friendly House and Senate controlled by Democrats, Governor Kitzhaber, who has said the project is a priority, would seem to have even more power to push it through.

Another boost for CRC backers from the election is the rising star of Washington State Senator Patty Murray. She was a key architect of the Democrats hugely successful national election results on Tuesday night and she’s also a big supporter of the CRC. In a story published today, The Oregonian said her new clout, “could bring benefits to Oregon.” Would the CRC be considered one of them?

It will be interesting to see how/if state DOT officials and project staff react to the statement. Citizens and advocacy groups have been making a similar request for years; but they’ve always been dismissed. “We can’t start over now,” they’ve been told.

Now, more than any time in recent memory, the CRC project seems to be in complete disarray. An organized cadre of southwest Washington Republicans are staunchly against it (at least in its current form), while one powerful Washington Democrat is for it and Democrats in Oregon are in a great position to bolster its chances. But the funding picture is still bleak.

It remains to be seen whether or not any amount of political support for the $3.5 billion project — regardless of its design — will be enough to move it forward.

Read more on this story from The Willamette Week and The Columbian.

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Comments
  • 9watts November 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I think dithering is a good strategy at this point. The more time passes the less plausible I think it will appear. I don’t suspect VMT will rebound, nor will public money become any more plentiful, and perhaps common sense will eventually catch up with the boosters.

    What is with our Democrats, anyway?! Maybe we need a bike caucus in the Oregon legislature.

    Recommended Thumb up 19

  • Dave November 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Fine–as long as David Madore has not the tiniest bit of a voice in the discussion. His very well expressed transportation prejudice should completely disqualify him.

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    • Todd Boulanger November 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      Future Clark County Commissioner Madore will have input into the process as Clark County holds 2 seats on the C-TRAN board per state law. And Clark County as does Vancouver has an automatic veto on C-TRAN projects and policy.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    9watts

    What is with our Democrats, anyway?! Maybe we need a bike caucus in the Oregon legislature.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    Great question. Many of the Oregon Dems seems to be pretty right wing when it comes to transportation. Yes, many of them own bikes and wear lycra on occasion; but they have also passed massive massive gov’t spending bills to build huge highway projects (they support the CRC, and voted yes on HB 2001). I have also not seen much in terms of vision or bold ideas from them that would actually change our existing transportation status quo. One thing causing this is that unions — and Dems who support them — think the “jobs jobs jobs” rhetoric can only be applied to mega-projects and old school road widening projects.

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    • 9watts November 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Didn’t the government pass a paperwork reduction act? Maybe there should be a companion drive-to-work reduction act so these folks can find out how much more fun it is to bike to work. Once they have experienced the joys and dangers (David Apperson worked for ODOT) I bet their attitudes would start to shift. Not to mention all the great folks they’d meet straddling the fog lines.

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    • 9watts November 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Some German politicians are already on it.

      “…create bicycle highways to take pressure off the roads. Germany’s first bike highway is to stretch a total of 85 kilometers right through the centers of cities including Duisburg, Essen, Bochum and Dortmund. Authorities also want to improve the network of cycle paths in other large cities like Cologne and Düsseldorf.
      The NRW government, a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, are also keen to encourage people to use their bike for longer distances. Cyclists are to have a two-lane highway with lanes four to five meters wide and few traffic lights. And there are also plans to install street lights, traffic signs and even service stations.”

      http://www.dw.de/new-bike-highways-to-save-time-and-energy/a-16145327-1

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      • El Biciclero November 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

        Now that’s the kind of “separated infrastructure” I could get behind! (Or ahead, if I were faster…).

        Note to U.S. “bike path” designers: “…two-lane highway with lanes four to five meters wide and few traffic lights.”

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      • PorterStout November 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

        I was struck by this sentence, “Only one in ten Germans actually take the bike to work rather than a car or public transport.” (!) I look forward to the day when such a declaration can be made here.

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    • Rol November 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Maybe this is a good time to remind everyone that we actually have a one-party system with two branches? This is certainly not the first known instance of Democrats out-Republicaning the Republicans.

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    • CarlB November 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Many Democrats have no choice. Their campaigns are funded by labor unions and the unions have told them that they must support the CRC.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • SteveG November 9, 2012 at 5:54 am

      Jonathan-

      I think you’re right, though I wouldn’t overlook the big engineering, architectural and even landscape architecture contractors that are also at the trough. The 200 million already spent on planning, public process, etc has been a major billable project for a lot of these professional services firms. When labor and engineering team up in Salem, they’re a pretty irresistible force, even when a project makes as little sense as the current version of the CRC.

      The “bike caucus” idea isn’t a bad one, but it should be broader: an active/smart/networked transportation caucus that includes abdicates for transit, bikes, TDM, carsharing, etc. alone, the “bike caucus” can’t hope to stand up to the mighty road building lobby. It’ll get squished.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    The sale tax vote on the Clark County side was more nuanced than most reporting has reported to date, it is more involved as it also included the Fourth Plain “High” Capacity Transit Project – BRT:
    1) anti CRC project ($ and design)
    2) anti light rail / anti public transit
    3) anti toll / anti TDM
    4) plus: the Fourth Plain BRT project design is flawed, so it did not draw a lot of supporters…to balance out the north & east county anti CRC.

    It will be interesting to see the polling results by precinct, in 1996 the LRT vote passed in the city of Vancouver area.

    There really was no big push to support it by well known and well financed individuals…versus what the other side had. It has been easy to have a common enemy in the CRC on BOTH sides of the Columbia…but the effort in developing real workable alternatives has not had the same effort and productivity.

    Perhaps now we will speak to the current CRC project as CRC1.0

    Right now CRC2.0 looks like we will have two wholly different projects meeting at the state line in the middle of the river…a light rail station from Portland exiting to a car parking lot with 2+ extra north bound lanes and only a toll southbound…and the world class bike way ending into a type 3 barricade.

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    • Chris I November 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      It’s what they refer to as “meeting in the middle”, right? ;)

      I got a good laugh out of your idea. That might be the only project that could achieve support from both sides at this point.

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    • was carless November 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      More likely this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_Saint-B%C3%A9nezet

      Hint: the Oregon half wouldn’t be built. :)

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  • Rol November 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    This is a hoot!
    “We oppose the CRC!”
    “I know right? All that traffic?”
    “No, we oppose it because it has too many bike lanes and WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!”

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    • A.K. November 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      “Too many options to NOT be stuck in traffic, boo!!”

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  • deborah November 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Wait – so it won’t move forward in it’s current configuration because there’s no more money for it and they don’t like the compromises they’ve had to agree to? Sweet – let it die!

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  • Bjorn November 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Wouldn’t a complete reset require another approval from metro and the city? Hard to believe they would approve any design that did not include light rail and improved bike facilities. I think the longer this thing circles the bowl the less chance it has of being built at all. The statement from Washington pols seems to reflect either a lack of understanding of the history of the project, or pandering, possibly both. Several politicians have been elected on the North side of the river on a platform of no tolling on the CRC project only to wake up to the reality that there is never going to be enough money without tolling, and even then they are still well short.

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  • spare_wheel November 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Its time for Oregon and Portland to stop subsidizing sprawl across the river. Southbound tolls to pay for light rail on I5!

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    • Todd Boulanger November 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Better yet would be for Portland leaders to:
      1) invest in it’s schools, so less middle management flight north while working in Portland – a work in progress(?)
      2) have Oregon companies stop employing residents of Clark County or require a change in their commuting ([or etc. who drive SOV to work] or require they relocate to OR – no change

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  • Scott November 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Vancouver and the fine citizens of southwest Washington have made their lifestyle choices clear. If they want to sit in traffic, shell out $100 a tank to fill their SUV gas tanks, and continue living as if it were 1954, let them be.

    Oregon and Portland shouldn’t waste another penny on a CRC or planning for a CRC while we have whole neighborhoods without sidewalks, paved roads, and safe alternative transport.

    The voters to the north have made their bed, let them sleep in it.

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    • Andrew K November 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      I could not agree more.

      Let’s face it, building a bigger bridge between Portland and Vancouver along I-5 benefits Washington far more than it benefits Oregon. As such, they should bare the brunt of the cost. If they are unwilling to do so fine, let them sit in traffic for hours each and every day.

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    • Paul in the 'couve November 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      I LIVE in Clark county (and ride my bike to PDX 2 out of 3 trips / never drive the bridges during traffic) and I totally agree with you. If anything, congestion tolling on both bridges is the answer and as for bike facilities either build light rail on a separate bridge w/ a bike facility or eventually take one of the lanes on I-5 for bikes.

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    • was carless November 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Totally agreed. The fact is, Portland cannot dictate how SW Washington can build its infrastructure and transportation system. Its against the law; they live in a completely different state with completely different laws. If they want to build miles of freeways everywhere and ignore mass transit, walking and cycling, then so be it. Apparently people in Seattle are completely willing to fund their lifestyle.

      However, Portland does NOT need to participate in this wasteful program. We have several functional bridges: I-5 and I-205. There is a (crappy) MUP path. The bridges are standing, they work. Our financial obligations are very low, as they have been paid for. If Clark Countonians want to rebuild their section of I-5 and replace 7 freeway interchanges, they can do it on their dime, not ours. It really doesn’t affect Portland – traffic counts are going down, freight mobility is still good, and there is the river and rail system to move bulk goods from the Midwest to our port.

      Done and done. Stop playing this game!!!

      -a fiscally conservative liberal democrat

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  • Chris I November 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I’m glad they are starting to see the writing on the wall. I have been saying this for years.

    The problem now is that those north of the river are going to push their vision: freeway expansion with no transit or HOV lanes, and those south are going to push their vision: transit and bike improvements. We can’t have both, as the current boondoggle has shown, so what will it be?

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    • spare_wheel November 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Gridlock is good for active/public transport. See Vancouver BC.

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      • was carless November 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        This is the ironic part. The downside? Americans who are pro-car can be very vocal and influential when it comes to transportation policy, and the current administration is just waiting to write a check to them. :(

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  • Eric in Seattle November 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Is it time to float the common sense alternative again?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPB1jtmHVkk
    If it could be done more cheaply, Clark County might go along.

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    • q`Tzal November 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      THIS
      +5

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    • Pete November 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Or we could just push the whole thing underneath the river:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig

      I drove through Boston recently and there was NO traffic whatsoever!
      ;-)

      OK, so I did have to dodge a few falling lamps and ceiling panels though…

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  • Michael, Portland Afoot November 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    The key objections of Clark County Republicans are (a) light rail and (b) tolling. Everyone who signed this letter is asking to eliminate one or both of those items.

    All three victorious Portland council candidates, meanwhile — that’d be a majority of the council at minimum — say they’d never sign off on a bridge without tolls and light rail.

    http://portlandafoot.org/w/2012_Portland_City_Council_election:_Steve_Novick_vs_Bob_White_vs_Jeri_Williams#On_the_Columbia_River_Crossing

    http://portlandafoot.org/w/2012_Portland_mayoral_election:_Eileen_Brady_vs_Charlie_Hales_vs_Jefferson_Smith#On_the_Columbia_River_Crossing

    http://portlandafoot.org/w/2012_Portland_City_Council_election:_Amanda_Fritz_vs_Mary_Nolan#On_the_Columbia_River_Crossing_project

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  • oliver November 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Clark county can build their bridge any way they damn well please, as long as they don’t expect to anchor one end of it in my state.

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    • Chris I November 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      I would go as far as saying they can build whatever they want as long as they pay for it. It’s just not going to happen, because they don’t have the tax base, and they aren’t willing to pay tolls. This is like a teenager pouting in their room because their parents won’t buy them concert tickets.

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      • dan November 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

        Exactly! How will the bridge be paid for without tax or toll revenue? Borrowing, I suppose? Funny how fast fiscal conservatives change their tune when they’re talking about their own services/infrastructure.

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    • q`Tzal November 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Better than the Bridge to Nowhere!
      It will be Clark County’s Bridge to the Square Root of -1 !

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • matt picio November 9, 2012 at 7:24 am

        I seriously hope so, since that would make it imaginary.

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        • q`Tzal November 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

          Designed by Escher the bridge will launch boldly south across the river, twist confusingly and abruptly deposit drivers in an N-dimensional space.

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  • Dan V November 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    All three victorious Portland council candidates, meanwhile — that’d be a majority of the council at minimum — say they’d never sign off on a bridge without tolls and light rail.

    To which I would add (and will inform all the responsible elected representatives) “bike lanes”. I’m not in any rush to get north of the river; if they want to live there and work here, it’s not my problem that they are stuck in traffic. Part of the price of not “keeping Vancouver normal”.

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  • was carless November 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Good god. If you spend 10 years on a plan that is a complete and utter failure, you don’t shout “redo!” and start all over again. We don’t have another $200 million to flush down the toilet for what? A bunch of drawings and engineering studies!

    This is the ABSOLUTE WORST dilemma of sunk cost, where the opponents want to completely reinitialize spending money from square one! So the sunk costs are wasted, yet they want to spend millions to replicate the work that has already been done!

    These guys get a big fat “F” for effort AND execution.

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  • Michelle November 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Building a bigger bridge will NEVER solve traffic or congestion problems. It’s pretty well known.

    http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/roadbuilding-futility.html

    The only reason I see to continue to throw $ at the project is because a select group of people are getting paid(Hi Mayor Elect!) to study and “design” this farce. We will continue to throw $ at this project and sadly, the ONLY ways to alleviate traffic(less people driving and either biking or taking public trans) are going to be the parts cut from this money pit.

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  • Zaphod November 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Eric in Seattle
    Is it time to float the common sense alternative again?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPB1jtmHVkk
    If it could be done more cheaply, Clark County might go along.
    Recommended 2

    yes!!!!

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  • Victor November 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I sadistically look forward to the day we have a large seismic event and the bridge is finally distressed enough it has to be closed to vehicle traffic and only ped and bikes are allowed across. What an interesting experiment that would be.

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  • o/o November 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Designate I-205 bridge and highway as a main I-5 corridor. Easy cheap solution.

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    • Psyfalcon November 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      That is still a huge mess during rush hour. Not as bad, and no bridge lifts, but still not good.

      Then you have to have a way for everyone to get downtown. Powell in the morning? Bikes are faster.

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      • A.K. November 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

        Yeah I work out near the airport and 205 is a zoo every night. NB to Washington is screwed up quite often. SB isn’t is bad, but can still be quite congested at times. Not sure how it compares to I-5, as I’ve never had to commute on it.

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  • resopmok November 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Need these politicians to refund us the $200 million design cost they pilfered from public coffers. From their own wallets, please.

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    • resopmok November 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      And just to add.. there is already the I-205 bridge for moving freight through the area. From what I can tell, the current I-5 bridge mostly benefits Vancouverites in the form of an easier, albeit congested, route to their Portland jobs. If they want a new design, let them take care of it and build it. Of course if Oregon doesn’t pass its own marijuana law soon, I could be wrong about the primary benefactors..

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  • Morgan November 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    This is classic WA BS. When I lived in Seattle they spent GOBS of money designing a monorail extension that was voted on MULTIPLE times and in the end it didn’t go through. I probably paid about $600 in vehicle tab fees almost entirely dedicated to the monorail project for it to not happen. I am all for public transportation and bike facilities. I am not at all for paying for wishy-washy decision makers.

    Of course once they finally made up their mind the cost had gone up so much since the idea was first put out there that it was basically impossible to fund. I wouldn’t be surprised if this project turns out the same way.

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  • dwainedibbly November 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    This is a desperation move. The WA officials know that if they don’t get a bridge built that they’re going to feel the wrath of their electorate. Even if we (here in Oregon) don’t have to pay a dime of the cost I’m still against it because of the mess it’ll create in the Rose Quarter and the fact that it will just encourage long distance car commuters.

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    • Max D November 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

      And this bridge is too low for current and anticipated river users. Build it taller and it screws up more of Portland, Vancouver and costs go way up, plus the little airport is screwed up. What is the big deal about a stop light on the bridge? I think it is cool!

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      • Marid November 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        I think the ‘little airport’ is, in the end, going to be sacrificed. Between the river and the airport, the airport loses.

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  • gutterbunny November 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    How about instead of a toll. We impose a “transportation” tax on people who’s home address is in the (pick a number) of zip codes that make up the preponderance of the Washington to Oregon commuters. This way we get them all, even the ones who use the 205 too. And we simply deduct it right out of their paychecks.

    And why couldn’t Oregon put up a toll booth on our side not on the bridge but say just before the first exit with street access. Keep it out of the CCB plans and do it on our own. Heck do it even if we don’t “improve” the bridge and toss one on the 205 too. Just make sure the fee costs as much or more than a Max ride as. Then see how fast the light rail and bike lanes get approved in the couve.

    Better yet lets do both.

    After most of them moved to the north to avoid our property taxes, this way we get it all back and them some.

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    • Dan November 9, 2012 at 7:35 am

      We already tax their OR income

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  • i ride my bike November 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    This whole bridge is about having Oregon build Clark County a wider bridge so they can save sales tax easier on Hayden Island.

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  • Marid November 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Jimminy Christmas. Build the bridge already.

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    • Chris I November 9, 2012 at 7:13 am

      How? With what money?

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      • 9watts November 9, 2012 at 7:29 am

        And to what end?

        Or are you channeling what Eileen Brady said in her stump speech?

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  • kenny November 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Time to Can the project completely. Maybe after tabling this unnecessary bridge redo for a few years, we can revisit. The bridge is safe, won’t fall down in the event of an earthquake and has enough capacity to do it’s job. The 200 million spent? VERY sad.

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    • Chris I November 9, 2012 at 7:14 am

      Actually, the bridges probably will fall down if we get a Cascadia Subduction quake. However, they could have been seismically retrofitted for roughly $200 million, which is about what they have spent on planning so far…

      Great work guys…

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  • kenny November 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I am only in support of an additional bridge with light rail, bike facilities, and pedestrian access… IF it cannot be added to the current CRC.

    More lanes are a poor plan. We need alternative transportation options to decrease time spent driving across the bridge.

    It should have tolling with congestion charging during peak hours.

    If not?… leave it be.

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  • matt November 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Great question. Many of the Oregon Dems seems to be pretty right wing when it comes to transportation.

    I didn’t realize there was a “right wing” position on transportation. It might be that a Democrat may actually disagree with your position on the CRC, Jonathan, without being “right wing.”

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    • 9watts November 9, 2012 at 7:59 am

      According to this perspective, Jonathan’s not so far off base:

      “The right is always the party sector associated with the interests of the upper or dominant classes, the left the sector expressive of the lower economic or social classes, and the centre that of the middle classes. Historically this criterion seems acceptable. The conservative right has defended entrenched prerogatives, privileges and powers; the left has attacked them. The right has been more favorable to the aristocratic position, to the hierarchy of birth or of wealth; the left has fought for the equalization of advantage or of opportunity, for the claims of the less advantaged. Defense and attack have met, under democratic conditions, not in the name of class but in the name of principle; but the opposing principles have broadly corresponded to the interests of the different classes.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_politics

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

      I didn’t realize there was a “right wing” position on transportation. It might be that a Democrat may actually disagree with your position on the CRC, Jonathan, without being “right wing.”
      matt,

      As I often do in comments, I type quickly and I don’t always use the best words perhaps… What I was trying to say is that, there are Dems in Oregon that are lauded for being “environmentalists” or “bike-friendly” that are actually not doing much radical stuff at all to actually save the planet or seriously promote biking. When you vote for a state law that has $800 million or so in big highway projects simply to get a tiny gas tax increase, you are tilting toward a position that is often associated with republicans and a perspective generally held by those on the right side of the political spectrum. When you do not aggressively watchdog and criticize and perhaps oppose the huge and insane CRC project, you are again, more aligned with the right IMO.

      My view has absolutely nothing to do with whether someone disagrees with my position or not. You’re right. It is probably not nice of me to throw around the “right-wing” label… but I hope my reason for using it is now a little bit more clear.

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  • scott November 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

    how about we reconfigure the bridge with the help of the intelligent people in Washington and have the first exit be up at Olympia, hell the only reason to cross the bridge is to get up to the sound anyhow. Make the Vancouver folks drive to OlyWa in order to get to down to PDX since they love their cars so much.

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  • ME 2 November 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

    There is so much focus on this bridge but at the end of the day, whatever the design is, congestion going to be relieved until the Rose Quarter, then after billions goes into that chokepoint its on to Terwilliger and billions more. After that freight have to face all the delays associated with navigating the steep hills down south.

    I was down in K-Falls last year for an econ development summit and one of the concepts that was discussed was doubling the size of 97 and turning it into a freight route. It makes a lot of sense cost wise and equity wise to reroute the freight around PDX and the population centers and down the middle of the state. At the same time it would alleviate congestion and the already highest in the state air pollution levels in our region. Of course, it won’t happen because of the regional ODOT directors and businesses that benefit from I-5 traffic will lose out.

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  • Dave November 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Doesn’t he have a conflict of interest, owning a company that makes the components for traffic signals?

    Todd Boulanger
    Future Clark County Commissioner Madore will have input into the process as Clark County holds 2 seats on the C-TRAN board per state law. And Clark County as does Vancouver has an automatic veto on C-TRAN projects and policy.
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  • Dave November 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

    was carless
    More likely this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_Saint-B%C3%A9nezet
    Hint: the Oregon half wouldn’t be built. :)
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    The CSA looks brilliant–and it’s damn near secret! Does Secretary LaHood know about it? Why has it been submarined? Do we need to, like, sacrifice a few planners into the crater of Mount Saint Helens or something?

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    • Max D November 9, 2012 at 10:26 am

      how do we get this to LaHood?

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  • Max D November 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

    was carless
    Totally agreed. The fact is, Portland cannot dictate how SW Washington can build its infrastructure and transportation system. Its against the law; they live in a completely different state with completely different laws. If they want to build miles of freeways everywhere and ignore mass transit, walking and cycling, then so be it. Apparently people in Seattle are completely willing to fund their lifestyle.
    However, Portland does NOT need to participate in this wasteful program. We have several functional bridges: I-5 and I-205. There is a (crappy) MUP path. The bridges are standing, they work. Our financial obligations are very low, as they have been paid for. If Clark Countonians want to rebuild their section of I-5 and replace 7 freeway interchanges, they can do it on their dime, not ours. It really doesn’t affect Portland – traffic counts are going down, freight mobility is still good, and there is the river and rail system to move bulk goods from the Midwest to our port.
    Done and done. Stop playing this game!!!
    -a fiscally conservative liberal democrat
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    I totally agree! Plus the bridge screws up river traffic by not being high enough. This bridge is a total loser!

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  • Max D November 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

    OR Dems should be ashamed! They are so focused on getting that checks from the Feds that are selling out Oregonian values and pushing forward a horrible project. This bridge will have enormous impacts for all of Portland for the next 50 years, and doing it wrong just to get the money is criminal. I am truly ashamed of these guys.

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  • Evan November 9, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Toll it. Now. Demand will go down and we won’t even need a new bridge. When we do, we’ll have toll money in the bank to help pay for it.

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    • Paul in the 'couve November 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Yes! A $4 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 4:00PM to 6:00 PM and a $2 toll all other hours (or maybe none 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM). and some flat rate for trucks on BOTH bridges.

      And no there shouldn’t be a significant discount for regular commuters who use the bridge every day. They are the ones that need to factor the cost of the infrastructure they use into their decisions regarding home, work and transportation options.

      Some of the money could go for better rapid bus service between Vancouver and Portland.

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  • Sean S. November 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I amused at all of the Clark county and Vancouver slamming here. As a commuter from Vancouver to Portland I feel I should explain a few things. First off there are many of us that commute to Portland because that is where we worked when living in Oregon and continue to work there after moving to Washington. At the time that I moved it was a choice of buying a condo or townhouse in Oregon or a house for my family in Washington. The majority of us do not cross to skip the sales tax (always my favorite BS slung from you southerners). Second, the tax measure failed because many of us know that an increase is not needed and that other funding sources are available elsewhere. The decision makers up here need to stop looking for the easy route of raising the sale tax. H-B and Madore are tools. Nuff said. It’s proof that you can buy an election. As for not wanting the crossing, we do. With lightrail and a much better MUP. As for not wanting to pay our fair share I sure don’t hear any complaints from the Oregon side about the MILLIONS of free cash that come from the income tax of Washington resident paychecks every year. By the way, I commute to Portland everyday by bike. The traffic I see on I-5 has just as many Oregon plates as Washington plates all with the same stuck in traffic faces on them.

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    • Dan November 10, 2012 at 7:56 am

      BTW, those OR plates you see are from people who moved up from Oregon and haven’t yet changed their plates (they’ll get the postcard from the WHP soon). And yes, we do get the income taxes on earnings in OR; don’t like it? Find a WA job…

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      • Sean S. November 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

        You’re coming off as an arrogant elitist this morning. The weather was great for my ride this morning. I suggest less time on the forum and more time in the saddle for you this morning. You should probably skip the coffee as well.

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        • Dan V November 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

          Got some great time in the saddle (which makes the coffee taste all the better). FWIW, when I lived in Vancouver (Orchards, actually) I commuted by bike daily to my job in OR. Sorry, work with several Vancouverites and them tend to rub me the wrong way and I occaisionally let it colour my feelings towards those north of the river…

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    • Greg November 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      I used to work with a group of 20 people at Freightliner who’d all bought houses in Clark County. Wanted an acre+ lot, bought in Washington, and then bitched every day about the hour+ commute. With a large enough population, everyone can’t possibly have an acre lot *and* still get to work in an hour.
      End result, I have no desire to subsidize large lots in WA by building an expensive new bridge.

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  • Paul in the 'couve November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Sean, I do agree with some of what you say, but overall I wonder if we live in different Vancouvers? Most folks I talk to around town want the crossing but don’t want light rail and absolutely don’t want tolls. I know there are people who support light rail, but I find they are massively out-numbered by people who just want the bridge. As for funding sources for transit, same thing, most people in Vancouver don’t want to pay for transit no matter what the funding source. You make it sound like there is funding just sitting out there. There isn’t. Yes, money could be taken from other purposes, but that is going to have as much opposition as the tax did.

    I recognize that you bike commute and during the few time periods when I’ve worked steadily in OR I have also. Yet, most people working in Oregon and living in Washington are making the same choice you made in terms or home size and price point (drive til you qualify) and expecting the transportation system to support their choice to live here and drive to work.

    Where I do agree with you is that Portland benefits from WA residents and Vancouver in general more than is typically recognized on Bikeportland and that Oregonians use the bridge more that the cyclists here seem to realize. Not to mention the amount of freight that moves by truck between the port of Vancouver and the North Portland industrial areas and the deliveries from many Portland businesses coming across to WA. I think many commentators here should spend a few weeks observing the bridge traffic. It is much more complex than just lazy and greedy Washington commuters. Certainly, though, commuting traffic is what creates the traffic jams. But traffic is heavy on that bridge even at 11:00 PM and that isn’t commuters. Off peak I’d say there are more Oregon Plates than WA going both directions which makes sense because there are 5 times as many PDX metro residents in the area than Vancouver residents.

    Anecdotally, in the 14 years we’ve lived in Clark County my wife has worked exclusively in Clark County and 90% of my work has been in Clark County. We contribute to the Portland economy. We go to Portland for restaurants, movies, atmosphere, sports. Last weekend we took a family outing to the Pearl and Northwest spending $300 all at businesses which no equivalent exists in Vancouver – Pro-Photo, REI, Sur La Table, and restaurants. We didn’t go to avoid tax. We went first because we enjoy the city. We had a number of purchases to make that we would otherwise mail order because we can’t get it in Vancouver. Bikeportland readers would do well to acknowledge that trips like that to Ruby Jewels Ice Cream and Mississippi Pizza and Powells, and various bike shops etc. do contribute significantly to the profitability of business in PDX.

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    • Alan 1.0 November 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Generally agreed, Paul, but C-Tran Prop 1 (0.1% sales tax) was voted down by about 56%:43% so I don’t think the opposition to light rail is quite as lopsided as you say. While clearly not a majority (this time), there are lots of people here who want better transit options. It was also not well-promoted, IMO. Sadly, it does seem like a Washington thing to oppose light rail, as it took Seattle four ballot measures and some 40 years to finally approve a line.

      I certainly agree with you about “more complex than just lazy and greedy Washington commuters.” Simply put, bridges are Good Things, and the existing PDX/Van bridges (2 highway, 1 rail) are simply too fragile and inadequate for a major metropolitan area along the Pacific subduction zone. (Count me among CSA supporters for both the structural reinforcement and greater redundancy of that plan.)

      Moving on, I found Michael Andersen’s position on “Three votes in Clark County…” provocative and thoughtful, but it ultimately seems short-sighted, tactical as opposed to strategic, and a single-issue (CRC) analysis. While it’s true that Madore and Mielke will scuttle this round of CRC budgeting due to their tax/toll stances, we’ve already seen that that vacuum is going to get filled by alternative proposals. Meanwhile, urban planning will suffer due to their influence, resulting in more suburban-style development with its automobile dependency. Such development will not lower I-5 bridge traffic–it will result in traditional demand rather than “induced demand”–and it will make it that much harder to implement a light-rail system as a retrofit rather than a long-term plan. Oppose the CRC based on (de)merits of its own case, but don’t sacrifice other regional urban policies on its altar.

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      • Paul in the 'couve November 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        Thanks Alan 1.0 –
        I think reading the vote on the most recent measure is difficult. I should look up the numbers, but it seems like roughly 40% will vote for supporting transit pretty consistently in Vancouver. I voted for prop 1 although I considered voting against it to block the bridge. I vote for transit even when I’m not completely sold on the idea – on principle.

        Since Prop 1 wasn’t a direct resolution simply on MAX it is hard to interpret. Were all of the “no” votes opposition to MAX or were some percentage opposition to the bridge and others thinking the plan wasn’t right and that Rapid Bus on 4th Plain isn’t well thought out? Were supporters really supporting transit, or were some of those yes votes cast knowing that Prop 1 needed to pass to get the CRC built?

        My guess is nearly all of that 46% for Prop 1 are like me, people who vote for C-Tran and want a better bus system. How much we actually like the projects in Prop 1 wasn’t really relevant. Personally, I don’t oppose MAX but I think it is really a sub-optimal answer for Vancouver. It is too slow. It stops too frequently. It costs too much. There is no way to run an express. I’m not saying it is terrible or that it won’t serve a purpose, but for the money we could do something smarter than MAX.

        The tipping point for me was Bus rapid transit on 4th Plain. That is an idea I can get behind. The 4th Plain corridor desperately needs a redesign and good bus service. That is why I voted for Prop 1.

        Also, how many people actually support tolls or recognize the bridge won’t be built without tolls?

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    • Beth November 10, 2012 at 9:18 am

      “We go to Portland for restaurants, movies, atmosphere, sports. Last weekend we took a family outing to the Pearl and Northwest spending $300 all at businesses which no equivalent exists in Vancouver – Pro-Photo, REI, Sur La Table, and restaurants. We didn’t go to avoid tax. We went first because we enjoy the city.”

      You like Portland? Delightful. Then consider moving here, creating the lives you really want and living in a more localized radius.
      Or, conversely, create the lives you want in Clark County by agitating for greater small business investment and job creation WHERE YOU LIVE.
      But for heaven’s sake, please don’t live in Vancouver and treat Portland like it’s your personal Entertainment Center. That just comes off sounding really smug, especially to all the folks who live in North Portland and who will have to deal with the increased traffic because of (at least in part) your consumer tastes.

      IMHO, The last thing we need is the CRC Project, especially if it’s a CRC which will exclude transit and bike ways and which will only encourage more automobile use.

      You want to live a nice life? Expend the energy — through community involvement and engagement with your local political process — to make it happpen in your city. If that doesn’t work you can always move. Better to do that than to insist on the right to live such a car-dependent life.

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      • Paul in the 'Couve November 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

        Beth, please stop and read and think. I oppose the CRC absolutely. I have the life I want in Vancouver. I live and work in Vancouver. If you want to move to a closed community and lock out outsiders, Portland isn’t the place for you. A lot of Portland business involves hotels, and tourism and sports teams and concerts and conventions that are specifically oriented towards drawing people to Portland. That’s what cities do!

        I live in Vancouver and like it and I shop and do activities in Vancouver. Sometimes my family and I enjoy going to Portland for the day and when we do we contribute to the Portland economy and the Portland Government and Chamber of Commerce and Businesses WANT us to do that. If you don’t – you come off as worse than smug.

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    • Greg November 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      “It is much more complex than just lazy and greedy Washington commuters.”
      I’m not saying that Washington commuters are lazy or greedy. They are making economically correct decisions to get what benefits them.

      If you spend a few minutes looking at google maps with the traffic view adjusted for commuting time, you will see that congestion is really just commuters.
      Take a look at I-5 from the river to the Rose Quarter.
      At 8AM Monday, it is red southbound on most of the OR side down to the Rose Quarter. Completely green northbound.
      Noon Monday – all green both ways.
      At 5PM Monday, it’s red up to the Washington state line. Green southbound.
      The rest of the weekdays look very similar. Weekends are mostly green.

      Certainly, the colors don’t count plates by state of origin. However, it clearly shows that saying we need a huge new bridge for anything other commuters (from either state) is complete hogwash.

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      • Paul in the 'Couve November 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        Did I ever say we need a huge bridge? And I did say ” Certainly, though, commuting traffic is what creates the traffic jams.” right after the bit you quoted. Yes, it is the commuters that cause the worst traffic – but it isn’t JUST commuters on the roads at that time. If you haven’t ever watched traffic or driven in the area you don’t actually KNOW what you are talking about. There is considerable truck traffic coming from Vancouver, during commute times, that is bound for the North Portland Industrial areas. There are also ‘commuters’ that are getting on the freeway at the Mill Plain and 4th Plain on Ramps and getting off at Delta park and MLK and East Columbia Blvd. Probably most of these are working in Industrial jobs in those areas, (I actually used to work there – though I bike commuted most of the time I sometimes drove or car pooled). For me and many others that I worked with it was a shorter commute from Vancouver than for the workers coming from Portland.

        All I am saying is that the myth perpetuated here that it is all a bunch of greedy, lazy tax evaders who are commuting to Downtown is over simplified. There is more to it than that.

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  • Skid November 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I’ve got an idea, let’s no longer allow single-occupancy vehicles to cross from Washington to Oregon during rush hour. They can work in their own state. The worst of the worst drivers wouldn’t be on our roads, and there would be more jobs, it’s a win-win.

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  • Dan November 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Have you SEEN some of the drivers in Portland? WA does NOT have a monopoly on bad drivers…

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  • Dan November 10, 2012 at 8:04 am

    AND, living in Outer Southeast, there are a lot of people (and not just from Clackistan) who will give up their single-occupancy vehicle when you pry the key from their cold, dead fingers…

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  • Duncan November 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I think we are seeing a replay locally of the GOPs national problem- Nationally they spent four years refusing to negotiate and lost. Locally the Washington Republicans are taking a “my way or the (no) highway” approach. The reality is that any number of players from the Feds to Portland to Metro have all said that light rail is a must have in order for to support the measure. By proposing a project (auto only bridge) that ignores the perspective of other players (including those who own the other side of the river) The Clark County GOP shows its absolute divorce from the reality of the political process.

    Myself I am totally against the gigantic waste of money the CRC represents, but I acknowledge that it would be a harder to fight if it included transit. My best interest would be served by keeping my mouth shut and letting the entire process implode from a major lack of reality… the two reasons I am saying anything is because when you see someone with their fly undone, it is polite to say something even if you do not like them. So Congressman Beutler, please realize that if your constituents really want this new bridge you need to start building some bridges of your own with the other players in the process- that does not mean acting like we do not exist but rather going to them and explaining that this project needs to include certain things that other interest groups want. You want us to pay for new interchanges on your side. we want light rail and a decent path (with a view thank you) to yours. Either that or as Vera Katz said, you are free to build whatever bridge you want right up to the midpoint of the river.

    I never thought I would miss Mayor Katz… but lately I have been.

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  • Duncan November 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

    oh and it needs to be high enough to allow traffic up the river… thanks

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    • Marid November 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      That appears to be the rock in the hard place. The needs of the small airport on the WA side prevents a proper bridge. From an outside observer’s view, nothing will happen until the Coast Guard and the FAA can be satisfied. That little airport really should be mothballed and a proper bridge built. The CRC is compromised from too many angles.

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      • Paul in the 'Couve November 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        The airport is a national historic site and the oldest operating airport in the USA. It isn’t simply a matter of a small civilian airport. Not saying it shouldn’t be considered, but stating the facts of why it isn’t that simple. Further, the land to the east of the bridge is also national historic site and archeological sites are located very close to the bridge.

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  • q`Tzal November 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I have this notion that tolls cannot legally be levied on any section of interstate highway that previously was NOT tolled. I’m not sure this is accurate but it seems to fit the pattern of tolled interstate highway development; I only recall urban spurs and loops being tolled except in KS & OK.

    If I’m wrong please point me at the correct answer.
    This would pertain specifically to calls to toll the current I-5 crossing.
    It may simply not be legal.

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  • Dave November 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Todd Boulanger
    Better yet would be for Portland leaders to:
    1) invest in it’s schools, so less middle management flight north while working in Portland – a work in progress(?)
    2) have Oregon companies stop employing residents of Clark County or require a change in their commuting ([or etc. who drive SOV to work] or require they relocate to OR – no change
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    Also, Oregon counties could be really daring and experiment with legislated hard, inflexible limits on the selling price of real property.
    This is an energy-use issue, maybe we need to take a chainsaw to the process of real estate speculation, house flipping, etc., that “forces” people to move a greater distance from central cities for affordable housing. Maybe we should consider that a “free market” in real property is not an entirely good thing and take it head-on.

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