Jeff Manning reports details of a leaked email indicating a key legislator in Oregon, Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, is ready to pronounce the Columbia River Crossing Project dead. In the project’s first catastrophic setback, this summer, the Washington State Legislature rejected a funding package for the project. The project seemed revived by the political support of local governments, so to keep the project alive, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber “proposed a slightly downsized version of the bridge/freeway expansion with Oregon alone leading the way and assuming the financial risk.” The scaled back proposal would cost $2.8 billion, down from the original $3.4 billion price tag.
The twin spans of the existing I-5 bridge “were built in 1917 and 1958. Both are considered ‘functionally obsolete’ by state transportation officials.”
“If the CRC is to go forward, the Oregon Legislature will have to reauthorize the state's $450 million contribution to the project in its upcoming short session in February. At this point, Beyer said, he doubts there are the votes in the Oregon Senate to do so,” writes Manning.