by Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog
The replacement bridge from Portland to Vancouver, also known as the Columbia River Crossing, won’t die. Despite opposition from all sides and a lack of funding from Washington state, Oregon’s governor and proponents of the project are just not willing to let it go.
The odds are stacked against the bridge, with no funding from Washington state, a tight deadline and plenty of opposition. As Oregon considers going it alone on a revised bridge project that includes light rail, here’s 5 things you need to know.
1. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced last month that the states had come to a mitigation agreement with the third and final manufacturer that would be impacted by the new bridge, with its height of 116 feet. Also crucial here is the deadline. The states have submitted a permit application to the U.S. Coast Guard that must be issued by Sept. 30 for the project to move forward.
2. The project would be all Oregon as Washignton’s Legislature voted against funding its portion of the project earlier this summer. Transportation officials say they would reduce the Washington interchanges, reducing the project from $3.4 billion to $2.7 billion. And state officials say it’s feasible for Oregon to go it alone.
3. Oregon would likely have to take up the issue in a yet to be called special session Sept. 30. During the regular session lawmakers voted for a $3.4 billion bridge project that hinged on funding from Washington state. A special session this month is still up in the air.
4. Although the bridge project received bipartisan support in the regular session, going it alone could be a tougher sell. State Rep. Dennis Richardson, who is also a Republican candidate for governor, has already flipped. In a recent newsletter he said he would not support the CRC this time around.
5. And finally, it’s important to note the last time around the project faced major opposition and hours long public hearings from both sides of the political spectrum. Environmentalists and conservatives alike are already driving the campaign against the bridge project.
Northwest Watchdog is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity