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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another $450 million for the CRoCk?

That's what they're talking about down in Salem -- another half billion or so for the bridge project that's burned through around $150 million already, with nothing but hot air to show for it.

A curious reader wants to know how many Tri-Met personnel are working on "planning" for the bridge, which may or may not wind up having train tracks on it. And where are the funds coming from to pay the Tri-Met people? No wonder they're cutting bus service.

And meanwhile, the darn thing is still too low.

Comments (13)

Great nickname--CRoCk ;)

This POS project is the real "bridge to nowhere".

Apropos of the bridge height, the planners are reasoning by analogy, saying that if a train system that works 90% of the time still provides service to 90% of its customers, then a bridge that provides 90% of the clearance that the river users require still lets 90% of each ship through.

They could have already built a sturdy bridge out of the cash wasted on "planning to plan".

I don't get it. How does one spend 150 million without pouring any cement? "Outreach?"

You don't need outreach (propaganda and marketing) if the bridge is obviously necessary.

Have the purchased a bunch of land to build it or something? I just wonder what do we own for our 150mil?

If I understand it right. A bridge build to the height specified by the Corps of Engineers, it won't accommodate light rail. What a shame.

If they really need better traffic flow, I'd think they could bore a tunnel from Marine Dr to the dip just south of Hazel Dell and come out money ahead. All of those communters are coming from all over Clark Co anyway

However, that would mean no train to downtown Vancouver and Clark College, which the locals don't want anyway

More ecologically sound (no stirring up the river and disrupting salmon) the bridge is still high enough and they could replace the existing spans eventually (isn't it good for another 50 years, engineering wise?)

I heard a funny name for CRC: The Columbia River Double Cross. But why do Oregonians and Portlanders continue electing spendthrift, "so-called" smart people to the legislature and Portland city hall? Yesterday, we find out in the Willamette Week the PDC gave $50k to a church to open a restaurant bar. OSPIRG rates the City of Portland a D minus in budget transparency. Portland's city auditor says the Portland transportation bureau wastes much of its multi-million dollar yearly budget on non-basic items. This is what remains in the aftermath of (the newly appointed executive director of the City Club) Sam Adams and Randy Leonard. The WW also reports Leonard is now trying to get special favors on a permit necessary to sell his house, after years of his mobster like rule of the Permits Bureau. Salem is just as bad with the new crew of legislators coming in. Representative Kotek's highest priority is to add nearly half a billion dollars in state debt to fund a bridge with a choo choo train Vancouverites don't really have much want for. Golden boy Wheeler wants to add another half billion dollars to state debt in order throw even more government largesse to state public higher education, which will mostly just end up causing the cost of tuition to escalate even faster (more demand but not much new supply) and student debt for subpar degrees to increase even faster. Meanwhile, the Teachers union and state/local government employees want more of the revenue pie while blasting any idea of stabilizing PERS costs. Kitzhaber is trying to slow this by trotting out his education Czar Rudy Crew, but I don't give much odds of this deferral technique working. Instead, our so-called leaders like Jules-Bailey, Rosenbaum and Burdick will get their way, and refer big tax hikes to the voters this November; and let the public employee unions trot out the children as props and carpet bomb the airwaves and other media with save-the-children-tax-hike pleas. And like a bad movie continuously played, there's a fair chance Oregonians will fall for this jive once more.

Salem political party animals bending over backwards for the Limbo Bridge: CRoCk around the clock....

Chubby Checker ~ "Limbo Rock"
from "Cameo Parkway - The Best of Chubby Checker"

Oregon has linked this thing to light rail and that means, like the convention center luxury hotel, it'll never die because too many local political careers have sold their souls for it.

Over three-fourths of the cost and half the opposition to this bridge would disappear overnight if they dropped the light rail component.

Nobody (except the Oregonian Editorial Board) is buying the whole color of money argument anymore. I expect that CRC backers will need Republican votes in both houses to pass funding for CRC + Light Rail. Someone needs to tell the Republicans that doing so will guarantee a primary opponent.

There's no excuse for any Fiddling while Rome burns.

Every City Councilor and County Commissioner is obligated to stand up and be counted on this boondoggle.

Their citizens are overwhelmingly opposed to this CRoCk that will suck up funding for many future projects and add taxes and fees without voter approval.

They should all take a council/board vote on opposing the CRoCk and reveal where they stand.

At present, nearly $200 million has been "invested" over nearly a decade in planning and design. The first design was disapproved by USCG due to its 95-foot clearance, and the improved design at 110 feet won't get a permit either.

The low clearance is needed for the same reason that the PMLR bridge over the Willamette is low-clearance: light rail can't handle the increased gradient.

The actual number spent so far is $170 million, and that has gone to creating an environmental impact statement, designing two different bridges, and lobbying the governments who have to approve. This project will spend $1.7 bilion improving five interchanges that will feed into an already-congested I-5. It is supposed to reduce congestion, but every workday morning, less than two miles from the river, at the Delta Park interchange, the five lanes going south off the bridge and the lane going south off Marine Drive (that's six lanes) will narrow to three lanes, creating a massive traffic jam that will back up onto the new bridge. The light rail plan simply extends the Yellow Line, which will have ten stops between the closest of three Vancouver stations and downtown Portland -- a trip of 38 minutes according to the CRC staff, which compares to less than 20 minutes on a C-Tran express bus and less than 15 minutes from Vancouver Station to Union Station on Amtrak. The Final Environmental Impact Statement says that in 2030, the key traffic modeling year, some 37% of the trips will be taken by light rail. Can't you just see all those people in Battleground, Ridgefield and La Center driving to the three parking lots (to be built at a cost of $167 million) next to the stations, getting out of their cars, walking to the station, waiting for a train and then taking the train to a station where they will transfer to a bus to get to their job?
If you use I-205 and the Glenn Jackson Bridge, prepare to be swamped by the commuters who don't want to pay $1500 a year or more in tolls and will take a short drive to use I-205 and the Banfield -- the Glenn Jackson can't be tolled. But don't worry, the project can't be financed (can't win in Clark County, in Olympia or by the two members of Congress in whose district the project sits). Coast Guard permit seems highly doubtful. This $3.4 billion project, the biggest boondoggle in state history, has the support of organized labor and the business lobby here. What a joke.

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