Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 11th, 2008 at 8:44 am
The chorus of criticism determined to put a stop to the CRC project is getting louder.
Economist Joe Cortright — an outspoken voice in opposition to the $4.2 billion Columbia River Crossing project — gave a presentation to the Portland Planning Commission on Tuesday and a group with major concerns about the CRC have launched SmarterBridge.org to provide, “news and information regarding alternatives to the massive and expensive project.”
Cortright’s presentation (available here) to the nine-member Planning Commission (a group appointed by the Mayor who advises City Council on any proposal that directly affects any goal or policy related to any element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan) consisted of 39 slides that addressed a number of factors about the CRC project.
The factors addressed in the presentation included: the CRC’s impact on global warming and VMT (vehicle miles traveled, a key component to reducing greenhouse gas emissions), “problematic” funding sources (including major debt worries), key assumptions being made by CRC project staff that are based on flawed models, the “red herring” of safety on Interstate 5, the changing role of freight in our economies, and concerns about the public process.
In one slide (taken from the presentation), Cortright illustrates concern about the relationship between the CRC’s plans, VMT rates, and achieving Washington and Oregon’s carbon emission goals:
Cortright’s presentation also presents an alternative to the $4.2 billion proposed project. Here’s what he calls a “prudent, phased, pay-as-you-go alternative”:
- Toll the existing bridge
- Improve transit
- Fix the railroad bridge [to handle more freight]
- Seismic upgrade for I-5 bridge [which he says could be done for $112-193 million]
- Modify Hayden Island ramps [where he says most of the crashes occur]
- Light rail to Clark County
Cortright is not alone in his calls for planners and politicians to take a major pause on this project.
The new website bills itself as, “A resource for cleaner, less expensive, more effective alternatives for connecting Vancouver and Portland.”
On April 16th, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will host a forum on the CRC. The forum is open only to BTA members and will be led by BTA staff and Rex Burkholder (a member of the CRC Task Force). A CRC project staffer will do a presentation and will be on hand to answer questions.
BTA Member’s Forum on the CRC Project
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
6:00 to 8:00 pm
PDC First Floor Conference Room
222 NW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97207
Before you go, make sure you understand this project and are prepared to ask questions. Here are a few places to start: