Urban Fold

Cities Take the Lead to Revive Scuttled Columbia River Bridge Project

Efforts by local leaders to revive a $3.4 billion plan to replace the bridge linking Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington is just the latest example of a trend in metropolitan innovation in the face of federal and state gridlock.

"[A]fter more than 20 years and tens of millions of dollars’ worth of studies, [the Columbia River Crossing plan] was killed last month by the Washington State Senate after the Republican-dominated majority coalition declined to vote on financing it," writes Kirk Johnson. "The governors of Oregon and Washington, both Democrats, immediately ordered further planning work halted."

"Then, almost without missing a beat, local leaders picked up the ball. If political paralysis in Olympia, the capital of Washington, had killed the old proposal, they said, then cooperation on the ground, by people who have witnessed the region’s transportation changes firsthand, would find the way."

"There is a pattern in this, reflected across the nation, say planners, economists and academics: cities are taking the lead," explains Johnson. "As recession and government downsizing have squeezed federal and state options, and partisan stalemate politics have crippled some state capitals, local leaders have pushed the front lines of change, if only by necessity."

Full Story: Washington and Oregon Cities Try to Evade Political Jam to Build a Bridge

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