Mayor Royce Pollard of Vancouver told the Mercury earlier today that he and the Vancouver council "strongly support a 12 lane bridge." Meanwhile, as you may have noticed, I've been trying all afternoon to get Portland's Metro Regional Council director David Bragdon to say what he actually meant, in terms of lane numbers, in this morning's Oregonian editorial on the subject, and he called back, just a moment ago.
10 lanes with a toll "would be my preferred outcome," says Bragdon. "I'm not dogmatic about the number 10 because that's the number of fingers or toes I have. 8 could be the right number under some circumstances, 15 could be the right number in other circumstances.”
“But what I’m trying to do with the CRC is question the traditional orthodox. Both sides want to reach an agreement on this," he continues.
"I think a slimmer bridge can get you all the performance in terms of replacing the light rail and accommodating the traffic, my concern is that a larger bridge actually defeats its own purpose by attracting more demand than exists today. And I think that smaller gets you nearly all the plus attributes without the downside risk," says Bragdon. "And I think it's fair to say that I'm skeptical of the projections that the state highway people use when they're doing these models."
"The history of these projects is that they induce more demand, when you add more capacity, than has been projected," he continues. "Atlanta, for example, added an unprecedented number of lane miles with the idea of reducing congestion. But in fact, demand increased in response to the new supply."
"It's a good discussion," says Bragdon. "And there's somewhat different interests across the river, I get that."
Asked about tolling, Bragdon says: "I think rational people on both sides of the river realize that tolling is inevitable. I think there's broad acceptance that it's going to be tolled. And what that's going to look like needs to be decided."
"I think it's going to be difficult," Bragdon admits. "But not impossible. And we have to have something that both sides are happy with. So, crafting that sort of compromise is a hard thing, but I think it's achievable."
"Certainly there's some very powerful forces that are arrayed towards the biggest possible bridge," he admits. "But I'm calling it the way I see it."
"I don't think any of us, on this, want to disagree, because it is, by definition, a project that requires agreement," he continues. "We can’t do anything over the strong objections of anybody else, so we're all going to have to agree on something, for anything to happen. That means there'll have to be a little give on both sides.”
There's a Metro Council meeting on the subject this Thursday, at 2pm, followed by a project sponsors' council meeting on Friday, scheduled for 10am. Question: How will the two sides settle their differences? Guns? Knives? Or...Spock...NO!!!!
CRC MEETING: Will be contentious...