Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

The Final Act for Portland’s $3 Billion CRC Highway Boondoggle?

The Columbia River Crossing proposed for suburban Portland is one of those highway boondoggle projects that's so enormous it develops its own gravitational field, and that makes it very hard to stop.

false

Despite its momentum -- more than $100 million has already been spent on planning efforts -- this $3 billion-plus, five-mile bridge-and-megahighway project has drawn fire from environmental activists as well as political actors in the region of all stripes. The wide-ranging opposition and enormous cost have led many observers to doubt whether the bi-state project will actually get built.

Now "Engineer Scotty" at Portland Transport reports the CRC may have finally reached its final hour, thanks, ironically, to the region's light-rail-hating Republicans:

KOIN-TV is reporting that prospects for CRC funding being passed by the GOP-controlled Washington State Senate appear to be dimming, as two influential members of that body--Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, have indicated they likely will not support the project. King is a longstanding critic of the CRC, particularly of light rail.

The Senate's term ends in roughly three weeks. Many supporters have long claimed that local financing for the project must be approved by this summer, or else federal funding for the project will disappear, a claim which is disputed by project critics. Governor Inslee, for his part, remains committed to the project. Political leaders in Oregon, including both Governor Kitzhaber and Portland mayor Charlie Hales, continue to support the project; and all three insist that light rail is a non-negotiable component of the Columbia River Crossing. The project's proposed finance package depends heavily on $850 of New Starts funding from the FTA.

Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic reported last week that President Obama included money for this project in his 2014 transportation budget, but there's certainly no guarantee that funding will survive a bout with Congress.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Spacing Toronto reports that the region's "inner-ring" suburbs are at a critical juncture in their development and can become either walkable  or disconnected places. The Dirt riffs on how the future of transit can be more inclusive. And West North gives a primer on walking, biking, or taking transit to Reagan National Airport in DC.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Go Back to the Future

If you liked the first Trump administration's transportation policies, you're going to love the second Trump administration's transportation policies.

July 19, 2024

Advocates Share What It Takes to Fight Highway Expansions in Court 

What does it take to sue your state DOT? Time, money, the right partners, and a little creativity, a recent survey of activists found.

July 19, 2024

Friday Video: Paris Does it Again

Come for the bike-friendly streets, but stay for adopt-a-tree program and all the car-free school roadways.

July 19, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: IrrePLACEable

Kevin Kelley on his book Irreplaceable: How to Create Extraordinary Places that Bring People Together, and the future of downtowns.

July 18, 2024

This Heat Wave is a Car Dependency Problem

Our quickly warming planet has a unique impact on people who don't or can't drive — and we need policy action to protect their health.

July 18, 2024
See all posts