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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 24, 2013 7:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Priorities on parade. The next post in this blog is Only in Portlandia. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The fix is *really* in on Washington side of the CRoCk

The people trying to stop the ridiculous light rail bridge between Portlandia and the 'Couv really had their panties in a knot on Friday, as the governor of the State of Washington came down to his southern border to rally the troops for the pork. The meeting wasn't open to the public; only bleating sheep were admitted.

Between that and the hiring of the CH2M Hill guy to help grease the skids, there's little doubt that the Powers That Be are determined to blow whatever billions it takes to build the thing.

It's too bad it couldn't be a simple replacement freeway bridge, at a height that works for river traffic. But no. This is Portlandia, Land of Goldschmidt and Earl the Pearl. Land where the Bechtels and the CH2Ms and the Stacey & Witbecks take future generations out and strip them of their financial future. All for trains and cr-apartments. Tragic, really.

It's funny how the Washington guv says that light rail on the bridge is "non-negotiable." With whom is he "negotiating" -- common sense? The majority of his constituents?

Comments (20)

If this unnecessary and wasteful bridge is to be built, at incalculable sacrifice to other, better uses of public funds, then light rail is really its only raison d'etre.

THAT'S the Portlandia way of "negotiating".

"Public input", "Inclusive", "Multiple Users", "Public Testimony", "Voter Mandate", "Diverse Stakeholders".... ALL just liberal group speak. Dissenting views go down the memory chute. Orwell would be proud.

Why stop at one bridge?

After all this really is a double-crossing...

Why of why didn't anybody consider putting light rail over the Glen Jackson Bridge rather than trying to gerryrig it over I-5?

For that matter, there's already a perfectly good rail bridge. Why not retrofit that bridge to carry light rail as well?

Either option would probably be less expensive and more sensible and neither would impact river traffic.

a perfectly good rail bridge

Not. This is in fact the bridge that really urgently needs to be replaced.

One more thing: all this talk about the CRC as "bridge" really overlooks the fact that the river crossing represents only about 30% of the project. The rest -- 70%!! -- involves paving over many acres in both states with expanded freeway and ramps.

The rail bridge needs help? Then all the more reason to kill two birds with one stone, methinks.

It is amusing to hear all the lip service hypocrisy coming from the political bureaucracy “We all need to share the sacrifice” and “Those who use the bridge need to help pay for it” and on and on with the so-called fairness issues. So why then is all the talk of tolling along with congestion pricing aimed only at the highway users instead broadening the base and including both bicyclists and transit riders in a pay to use picture? The stand alone bicycle infrastructure has a $40 million price tag plus an undisclosed dollar amount hidden within the connecting roadway infrastructure budget. Those dollars should come from bicyclists - not motorists. Likewise, Federal Transit Administration dollars (siphoned from the Federal Highway Trust Fund) are targeted to fully fund light rail as opposed to a 50 Fed – 50 local split because the highway portion of the project is replacing the local match dollars. Therefore, “equity, farness and sharing the sacrifice” all require that transit passengers help pay for that local match with an extra charge for using the crossing. Consequently, the message the political bureaucracy continually spewing is all about social engineering – deliberately and discriminately misleading the public with their tolling scenarios.

Reading through the comments on the Seattle Times tells me that residents up there are starting to see what a scam light rail is as well.... and they actually have a much better system.

The government is owned by the elites.

The elite's are the ones that make the most money off these boondoggles, of course they want it to go on.

Tax payer funded boondoggles are the best way for the elites to get richer, easy money basically.

As long as the government is owned by the elites the citizens are not going to have a say in anything.

Keep voting for the Republicrats and it will never change.

Dempublicans are worse, Al.

The government is owned by the elites.

D's and R's!!

Can we count a few who are not in that camp?

There is no shame. How they can look the people in the face is beyond me. A private meeting yet concerning our public dollars!!

Dempublicans are worse, Al.

Nah, the just pass the ball (blame) back and forth and behind the closed doors they are all close pals and scheme against the public.

Clackamas County Chair Lynn Peterson is being paid to knowingly harm her own county.

She did so as Kitzhaber's transportation adviser and is doing so now at the helm of WA Transportation.

Read the letter she wrote about the CRC when she was chair and wonder where her concerns are now.

http://crcreview.columbiarivercrossing.org/documents/Clackamas_County_Testimony.pdf

Excerpts:
"The businesses and industries in Clackamas County...cannot afford
additional congestion or decreased reliability on the 1-205 "

"..this project is beginning to collapse under the weight of unresolved community concerns and expectations."

", these mega-projects do not reflect the priorities of the communities we are elected to serve."

", we have grave concerns about a funding strategy for the Columbia River Crossing that prioritizes it above all other regional transportation investments."

"Removing a bottleneck on the 1-5 bridge and moving it to the 1-5 in the Central City is not a viable solution, and the region is then forced to make additional difficult and unrealistic choices."

"We have been watching with great concern as many of the project
partners have not been able to identify solutions to these very serious community issues."


That was then?

Apparently Peterson's self interest has caused her to abandon all concerns for her own county.

And now she is trying to build "Trust" in Washington?

New Washington Department of Transportation Leader to Work on “Building Trust”

March 24 Tacoma News Tribune link at

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/03/24/2527747/new-dot-leader-to-work-on-building.html#storylink=misearch

“We’re going to work on building trust with the citizens of Washington,” Peterson said in an interview Thursday. She started by organizing a review of agency decision-making on megaprojects, although her choice of reviewer immediately came under scrutiny."

I meant to start the previous post with "Former" Clackamas County Chair.

I still think there has to be some kind of federal pressure coming from somewhere, at least from the present administration. Just since 2008, the officials who keep advancing this unpopular juggernaut are simply too persistent and too confident, there's too much smirky self-assurance, as if they know something big that the rest of us aren't supposed to know yet, that what the people want is irrelevant, that this is going to happen whether anyone wants it or not. It's like the slow unveiling of an overthrow that's already quietly taken place... or maybe it's more like the Borg, a sort of "Light Rail Borg".

For that matter, there's already a perfectly good rail bridge. Why not retrofit that bridge to carry light rail as well?

The railroad bridge is fine - it's just that since the Interstate Bridge was rebuilt (in the 1950s) with the "hump" many barges can easily clear the Interstate Bridge without a lift - but no way to navigate under the BN bridge without an extremely sharp S turn to line up with the swing-span opening.

Of course, building a hump on the BN bridge is not going to happen - cars and trucks can easily navigate a 5% grade but trains not so much...

So the idea is to build a lift span further south on the BN bridge, which would replace the swing-span (which would actually remain but either inoperable or just used for emergencies) which would only require a slight turn to either go under the hump of the Interstate - or to the lift span of the Interstate...

As for "retrofitting"...the BN bridge could accomodate commuter rail, no retrofitting needed. Anyone who has been to Chicago or San Francisco or New York has seen commuter rail in action. Even Seattle, Vancouver (BC), Los Angeles, San Diego, and Salt Lake City have commuter rail systems (not the sorry excuse we have called WES)... Imagine commuter trains originating in Kelso and Washougal, taking commuters to Portland each morning and returning each evening...on tracks that already accomodate Amtrak trains that travel at 79 MPH. All that would be needed is the commuter rail equipment, and some basic station facilities...

I didn't realize the BN bridge over the Columbia was still a swing span. They replaced the swing span over the Willamette up near St. Johns with a lift span maybe 20 years ago to address water navigation issues.

Upgrading the existing rail bridge to include transit rail sounds like a no-brainer, but then I suppose there wouldn't be quite as much federal pork for officials to distribute to their supporters that way, and less reason to impose restrictions on inter-state travel between Oregon and Washington.

Less reason to begin implementing tolls all over the area?

"Upgrading the existing rail bridge to include transit rail sounds like a no-brainer." That is of course if BNSF is open to the idea, considering the amount of rail traffic already on that line and for how long the bridge would be off-line for renovations.

The method would be to build a new four-track rail bridge with a lift span, with two tracks belonging to BNSF and two tracks belonging to TriMet. When the new rail bridge is complete, the current rail bridge would be removed. The rail bridge is even older than the first Interstate Bridge and is ready to be replaced.


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