Another official step in the march toward a 12 lane Columbia River Crossing: this morning, the Project Sponsors Council (the twelve regional transit and government leaders guiding the bridge) voted unanimously in favor of approving the 12 lane option Mayor Adams proposed to Portland's City Council last week.

The vote to go ahead with the largest single transit project in our region's history took place at, where else? Corporate Woods business park in Vancouver, Washington.


Vancouver's Corporate Woods - Where Portland's Most Important Transit Decisions are Made!

I actually missed the first half hour of the meeting because I have never been to Vancouver and got horribly lost. I wound up, I kid you not, at a cemetery between an Evangelist megachurch and an Albertsons where I said a silent prayer for a future in which Vancouver and Portland are transit-linked twin cities before I called 411 for directions.

Unlike at City Hall last week, no one showed up at the Project Sponsors Council session to protest the 12 lane decision. The most interesting part of the last half of the meeting, anyway, came in the discussion over Commissioner Fritz's suggestion that the bridge's oversight board include an environmental justice advocate and a health advocate. The Project Sponsors Council was not enthused about the idea, but Metro Council President David Bragdon piped up on its behalf.

"There's this pattern of making claims that this project will reduce emissions. Why are we worried about subjecting that to scrutiny?" he asked. In the end, the group decided to add a new bullet point "changing the performance goals to include talking to other department agencies." A single vague bullet point! Ba-da-bing! Score one for environmental justice oversight of a $4.1 billion project!


Sam Adams, David Bragdon and friends at the CRC Project Sponsors Council

I talked to David Bragdon earlier this week about his support for the 12 lane option. Previously in the planning process, Bragdon spoke out in favor of eight or ten lanes. "I think personally, I think 12 lanes is too big. But with the right pricing and tolling, it's manageable," Bradgon said this week. "When I lose, I'm not going to be a crybaby about it, I'm going to move onto the next step and be constructive and effective in the next effort. If 12 lanes is what the majority wants, we should just move forward as positively as we can."

Is 12 lanes what the majority wants? On City Council, obviously, but a different kind of majority may turn out for a protest against the 12 lane bridge, April 5th in Waterfront Park.

If you're not already pissed off enough about the bridge to head to the protest, take a gander at the Governor's Jobs and Transportation Act, which gives the CRC Project $15 million a year from gas tax and car registration revenue.