Tell Salem: We Need To Re-Think The Columbia River Crossing
Oregon’s Legislature is being asked to endorse the Columbia River Crossing — the most expensive public works project in the state’s history.
The project’s initial costs to Oregon are estimated at $450 million, but that’s not the half of it: The state will be on the hook for any cost overruns or shortfalls in funding from any other source. All three of ODOT’s biggest current projects — US 20, the Newberg-Dundee bypass, and the Grand Avenue Viaduct — are all more than 100 percent over their original budgets, and an overrun on the CRC would be devastating to the state.
- Too expensive: The Columbia River Crossing is a gigantic project and we can’t afford it; bridge construction represents only 10-20 percent of the total project cost.
- Smaller solutions work: Most of the traffic over the bridge is local and can be fixed with smaller, less expensive solutions.
- It will go over budget: ODOT is two times over budget on three of its largest projects, studies of mega-projects like the CRC over the past 70 years have found 90% of them go over budget.
- Our one big request: If this memorandum passes, the Columbia River Crossing will be our number one request to the Federal Government for funds, superseding all of Oregon’s other priorities.
- It locks us in: If the Federal Government comes through, the Legislature will now be on the hook for filling in any budget shortfalls that happen in the future (hint: it will).
- Fixing the bridge is cheap: Demolishing the bridge costs the same as retrofitting the bridge to be seismically safe.
- There are worse bridges: The Oregon Department of Transportation has identified 29 structurally unsafe interstate bridges in Oregon, the I-5 bridge ISN’T on that list (but the Marquam bridge is)
- A bridge for Washingtonian: The bridge mostly benefits commuters in Washington’s Clark County, but Oregonians will foot most of the cost.
- Not a bridge for Oregonians: And while the Columbia River Crossing wouldn’t benefit the whole state, the whole state will pay.
- Tolling causes chaos: Unless I-205 is tolled, traffic would flood over to that freeway crossing.
- Spreading Sprawl: The Columbia River Crossing would ignite Vancouver sprawl. Indeed, Clark County developers will benefit from avoiding Oregon’s income tax and urban growth boundary.
- Light rail is uncertain: There’s no commitment from Vancouver/Clark County to build light rail.
- Why not look at other answers? There has been no meaningful discussion by planners of alternatives like a freight lane, retro-fitting, or other alternatives that exist.
- Communities don’t want it: The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, which represents 12 neighborhood associations, has taken a position against the bridge.