Oregonian to CRC: Git 'er Done in 2012


I still just don't like the argument that a bigger bridge will CAUSE more traffic.

You might be able to get away with saying it would ENABLE more traffic, if you insisted. But it's not like a bridge magically causes more people to drive. They have to already WANT to drive! And have cars!

---still against the current CRC plan--
your picture only shows 1/6 of the project. show all the interchanges in Vancouver, WA... you know, the part that makes this bridge cost $10B
If opponents could admit that their opposition stems from the fact that they have a basic dislike for 1) Cars and 2) Vancouver, the debate could at least proceed from a position of honesty.

The arguments against have a certain desperate "throw everything at the wall" quality to them.
We're interviewing economist Joe Cortright about the CRC and the assumptions that underpin its financing, tomorrow (Weds) on KBOO 90.7 FM at 11:30 am. How many jobs? For how many dollars? For how long? We'll ask him. Good timing.
If the proponents could just admit their support stems from the fact that they have a basic value system that 1)they are entitled for someone else - the federal and state government - to pay for something they use for themselves 2)they are entitled to cheap housing and taxes while taking advantage of good jobs in Portland 3)the single driver car era will continue for ever because they are entitled to sub-$3 per gallon gas prices.

We won't even discuss the wackos who think the light rail will bring crime from Portland to Vancouver, it's more likely the reverse.
The Oregonian also came out in favor of the "Green Skyscraper" boondoggle as well. It's make-work or bust in 2012.
I have a basic dislike for cars and Vancouver.
I have a basic dislike for 1) urban freeways, 2) suburban sprawl, and 3) assholes. Cars I like, though over-dependence upon them is a problem. Vancouver has nice Fourth of July fireworks.
You know, I work for a federal agency. We don't even know our FY12 budget yet and there was a message today talking about buy-outs for early retirement. I would imagine that similar things are going on with whatever federal transportation agency that is supposed to be funding most of this bridge.

These things make me skeptical that there is any guaranteed funding for the project from the feds. Thus, that bridge isn't going to be built any time soon. Am I wrong?
Blabby is right, again.
Blabby, there are lots of opponents in Vancouver who hate the project because they hate light rail. Or tolls. Or wasteful projects.

And there are lots of opponents on Hayden Island who hate the project because they hate the fact their homes (and/or businesses) will be condemned.

And there are lots of opponents who dislike the idea of increased congestion in the heart of North Portland - and increased health problems because of it.

And there are lots of people downstate who hate the project because it means we won't have any money for any other project for 20 years.

But thanks for claiming all those folks aren't honest.
"And there are lots of opponents who dislike the idea of increased congestion in the heart of North Portland - and increased health problems because of it."

Have you actually been to North Portland? Congestion during peak hours couldn't be much worse. The second part isn't worth addressing.
I live in N/NE Portland -- about a mile from the epicenter of the projected traffic congestion. The modeling shows a large increase in congestion at Alberta if the CRC mega-project is built, due to the funneling down of 6 lanes to 3. So if you think the congestion is bad now, just wait until after the CRC is built.

The Independent Review Panel called this out as a problem, and said the project's worth is questionable unless we find another $1.5 billion to expand the highways to the south.

And Blabby - there's nothing funnier than a person with a fake name calling out other people on honesty points. And yes, I drive my car, and yes, I like Vancouver (at least its downtown).
"The Independent Review Panel called this out as a problem, and said the project's worth is questionable unless we find another $1.5 billion to expand the highways to the south."

One project at a time.
Chuck? Why do we need this project? Why do we need to expand I-5 through the Rose Quarter? The added capacity will be filled with additional Clark County commuters within the decade, as additional homes are added, and carpool and transit options are abandoned. Induced demand is a well-documented occurrence with projects like this.

Wouldn't it be more efficient for the region to add density and infill housing on the Oregon side to address the population growth? You can't use the "free market" argument here, the CRC is just as socialist as any transit project. Why should we subsidize suburban development in Vancouver by expanding our freeways?
Chuck, we're wayyyyy short of money to maintain what we have ($1.3 billion a year according to ODOT) and you want us to take on $4 billion PLUS another $1.5 billion?

A reminder - repairing roads costs 8 to 12 times as much as maintaining them.

We've maxed out our credit cards, our infrastructure is falling apart, and you're wanting to buy the most expensive public works project in the region's history, that won't fix traffic problems?

And a recent comprehensive review found precise correlation between expanding urban freeways and increasing traffic. So even if we expand at the 405/Rose Quarter, that'll be filled up. http://daily.sightline.org/2011/12/14/stud…
What cracks me up is that land-use planning and study is a rather large industry in Oregon, (witness the constant droning of but you never hear anyone address two fundamental aspects.

1. If it weren't for Clark County functioning as a safety valve in the 1990's, Oregon's land use system would have been put under more severe strain. Frankly it would have crumbled.

2. If it weren't for Oregon's pathetic support of K-12 education in the 1990's, lots of folks would not have moved to Clark County.

A new bridge is the only way light rail will connect to Clark County. That obvious and worthy goal seems to elude many folks in the Portland "environmental" movement. The far left in Portland and the far right in Clark County are working for the same goal, what does that tell you? Follow the money, as some guy in a parking garage once said....

1. I'd like to see the evidence for this, and some evidence of the existence of the alternate-universe-transport-device with which you attained that evidence.

Either way, I don't see the point of paying billions and billions to subsidize such a supposed safety-valve. Here's a cheaper, easier safety valve: expand the Urban Growth Boundary. Like they did just recently.

2. Agreed! We need better education here.

Light rail is fine, and I'll like to see it go more places. But not if it means getting massive freeway expansion crammed down the region's throat.

And the Clark County conservatives are against the CRC because they see it as a secret plot to cram light rail (which they see as a "crime train") down their throats. They generally want all the freeway without the light rail. Not quite the same position advocated by Portland libs.
So we're short of money RIGHT NOW. We won't always be, or at least that's how the story goes.

Look, I'm not saying the CRC doesn't have problems, but doing nothing and hoping that freight and commuters all start riding bikes isn't an option either. And eventually, bridges fall down.

"but doing nothing and hoping that freight and commuters all start riding bikes isn't an option"

Yeah, because someone's actually advocating that position.

CRC opponents generally have some other thing they'd rather see built, or some other congestion-relieving strategies employed. The notion that opponents are advocating "nothing" is a CRC PR invention. The "no-build" option was choice number 5 in the multiple-choice test they wrote. (And choices 1-4 were either 10- or 12-lane variations of the current plan.)

Any freight that gets caught in traffic jams is the freight someone was unthinking enough to schedule to coincide with the daily Vancouver commuteathon. Which isn't going to go away even if the CRC is built. Or rather, it might for a while, but then more Washington farmland will be turned into housing, and we'll be back to where we are now.

And even bike advocates can't realistically expect commuters to suddenly start biking from Vancouver over that mountain of a bridge and to downtown Portland or Hillsboro, or wherever they're going. Which is why the CRC "world-class bike facilities" are such a joke.

"And eventually, bridges fall down."

You got a point there. So let's start fixing the oldest bridges first - not the Interstate bridges. Or better yet, the ones in the worst shape - also not the Interstate bridges.

Better yet, if we're worried about stuff falling down, let's focus on the schools that aren't up to seismic snuff.

ODOT says these bridges have 60 years left in them.

And yes, we should do something. Like toll the existing spans. In Washington, tolling the 520 bridge cut traffic 37%. And like upgrading the BSNF rail bridge. And if you want, build a local bridge to Hayden Island. Total cost of those two bridge projects - about $300 million.