For years, the highway divisions of Oregon and Washington have mismanaged this project, all the while propagandizing that their proposal is the only solution and dismissing the possibility of alternatives. Now, for the second time in six months, a panel of their own hand-picked experts have discredited the two state highway divisions and promoted alternatives. Bluntly, ODOT and WashDOT have been given another failing grade by their expert peers. The real question is: will the Governors finally bring in competent, reliable management worthy of this important project? Simply referring this latest expert panel's findings back to the same bungling ODOT/WashDOT management which is responsible for the fiasco (which is all the Governors did last July the last time the experts rang the alarm and the Governors simply responded with more defensive spin) will only bring more of the same waste. First law of bureaucratic physics: an agency that has created a mess tends to spend more energy covering up and defending the mess than cleaning it up. That is exactly what the Oregon and Washington highway divisions have been doing for years and will continue to do until their senior leadership is sacked for their demonstrably poor performance and replaced with a team that can get the job done. And it needs to get done.
Actually it takes a majority of the remaining Council, not just the Council President, to appoint the interim replacement.
This never would have happened if I were still alive.
Yes, there is an equal $400 million ask penciled in for the Washington Legislature, though that would probably equate to a different per gallon number since they have a larger population and presumably more gallons sold statewide. Also,it's not necessarily the gas tax that would be increased; it could be registration fee or some other source. Also, in Oregon, weight and mile fees on trucks get raised simultaneously based on a user responsibility formula.
Hillsboro also submitted a very ambitious bike proposal to the federal government as part of the Metro Council's application for Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds. Hillsboro's goal was to connect several of the light rail stations to employment areas with bike paths and trails. We did not get the award but Hillsboro and their staff are to be commended for aiming high.
The real problem is not a matter of "design" in the visual aesthetics sense - the real problem is a matter of design in the functionality and engineering sense: the system failure that will be created at the Rose Quarter and on the arterials of North and Northeast Portland,for example, and the terrible impacts on Hayden Island or downtown Vancouver. The fatal problems with the current proposal are much deeper than whether the bridge "looks nice."
The "modeling that was done by Metro" was done under contract to the state highway divisions and ONLY using assumptions and conditions which the state highway divisions imposed.
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