Washington Passes $8.4 Billion Transportation Bill

Here’s a quick blurb on this transportation package in Washington. It looks like, sounds like, reads like the Washington Democrats have voted in to throw down $450 million match for the I5 Columbia River Crossing in spite of heavy local contention on the Portland and Vancouver sides of the bridge. It appears that the politicians in both Oregon and Washington give no care to those residents in these cities.

The CRC wreck continues to move forward. It’s starting to get to the point of, who’s going to pay for the massive overruns that are starting to take shape. Remember the bridge needs redesigned to meet Coast Guard height restrictions, it’s going to limit overall height which will close down businesses along the Columbia up river. Beyond those two immediate things Oregon has not established an actual funding source for the bridge or setup actual bonds or other mechanisms. In other words, the politicians in Oregon have spent money they don’t have in any budget, the politicians in Washington have completely disregarded Vancovuerites and of course have no vested interest in Portland form this perspective.

None of them seem to be paying attention to the future, nor the fact that traffic hasn’t increased on this stretch of interstate or the fact that 70% of traffic congestion is caused by local traffic. In other words, EVERY logical solution to this is to build an arterial bridge and let local traffic travel on it instead of being forced to funnel into the I-5 corridor.

Why is this simple solution such an insanely hard thing for these politicians to wrap their head around? It seems someone with some deep pockets and serious intent to build the bridge – broke as it is – keeps pulling the strings of the politician puppets. Just sad.  :(

My Two Cents of What’s Happening

The Republicans are in favor of just paving a massive bridge across the Columbia River. A few of them have even suggested BRT, albeit they know how BRT works out (i.e. it usually doesn’t get funded and when it does it’s shoved into traffic anyway).

What this is starting to shape up like, in a twist of irony, is Oregon is supporting the bridge to get light rail and Washington is supporting it to get light rail, in spite of and against the will of the sprawling areas’ Vancouver citizens. The irony is that Vancouver’s state – Washington – is in favor of light rail, the biggest sticking point for Vancouverites.

In Oregon, we’ve actually got a number of the features we demanded were must haves; safer and better pedestrian and bike access, light rail into downtown Vancouver and on to the College, reduced overall lanes and slowly decreased scope to fix all these other ingress points on the Interstate.

Overall, Portland and Oregon as a whole have gained a lot of things we wanted. However the biggest problem is that it is still unwanted by the overall communities it affects the most, it doesn’t actually provide real traffic congestion relief (and even if it did, induced demand would fix that in short order). The bridge is largely unfinanced which will fall on the backs of our children. The trend is also AGAINST increased car ownership, it’s actually dropping, and Portland is a leader in that dropping demand. Building this thing is against the trend that is occurring.

Overall, it seems like Oregon and Washington politicians are blinded by the desire to get light rail built and find it acceptable to sink us into massive debt by building an Interstate that is entirely unfunded, even with the tolls for Washington Commuters coming into Portland.

Overall, things are whack for the CRC.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s