we challenged the idea that says we
can build our way out of congestion by adding
more freeway lanes."
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The strong support being given to the $3.4 billion Columbia River Crossing highway expansion project by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber represents a u-turn from his previous positions. The two-time governor was once considered a progressive thinker when it came to transportation. Comments made during his first term as Governor now seem at odds with his strong support for HB 2800, the "CRC bill" that passed a vote in the Oregon House this morning.
On February 13th, during the first of two hearings on HB 2800, Kitzhaber sounded like a staffer for the CRC project. He rattled off all the talking points one by one and painted a picture for lawmakers of dire urgency if the project fails to move forward immediately.
"We must seize this opportunity to get a huge return on investment in Oregon's future," he said, "It's time to build a bridge." Kitzhaber said the project is "construction ready" (even though CRC staff themselves say it's only at a 30% design) and that it will, "Increase mobility" and "Fix one of the worst bottlenecks of any highway system in the U.S." (more...)