Tuesday, August 21, 2012

President demands bridge... also wants pony

This article in the Willamette Week reveals a happy truth to the startling news that President Obama has given the Columbia River Crossing "Expedited Status"

'Obama is not the first president to offer such encouragement to the CRC', the Wweek noted, 'President Bush ordered the same expedited status in 2008. But neither Bush nor Obama offered anything more than encouragement. 
Permitting has not been the issue, as local, state and federal agencies have rubber-stamped the plan developed by the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation.

What is preventing construction is that no one wants to pay for it. And why should anyone want to pay to replace a working bridge that is rated better than the bridge, which a few miles south of the CRC as you leave Portland on I-5 (the Marquam Bridge)
But Congress—which is supposed to provide a third of the $3.5 billion cost—is not looking to send money to blue states these days; neither Washington or Oregon's Legislatures have approved the $450 million each state is supposed to provide; and the projected toll revenues that are to provide the final third have been found to be wildly inaccurate.
 Even looking at USA Today's coverage the press release stating support from the White House seemed tepid, even passive. (note the other projects listed request 25 million for a bridge in Maine and 89 million for railroads in Washington, as opposed to the 3500 million for the CRC. That's TWO extra zeros if you weren't paying attention.)

Finally our favorite economist, Joe Cortright offered some scathing words for the project costing taxpayers a million dollars each month:
"The sooner the CRC faces its day of reckoning, the sooner we can stop wasting money on a project that we don't need, can't afford, and doesn't solve the region's transportation problems," says Portland economist Joe Cortright, a longtime critic of the project.
 Thanks for setting the record straight!