This may have been obvious to a lot of people watching the efforts to build a Columbia River Crossing, but it's now official: The controversial $3.5 billion freeway and bridge project won't get started next year after all.
The Columbian reports the lack of state funding from Washington and Oregon—not to mention no sight of federal money—means the CRC won't get a start date until at least 2014.
Both state legislatures are now in sesssion, buit neither are considering any bills to appropriate any money to the project, although the Washington state senate has passed a bill that would allow tolls on the bridge to help finance it.
"It's hard to imagine any actual construction in 2013, especially if our Legislature hasn't approved any revenue," Washington State Department of Transportation Director Paula Hammond told the newspaper Wednesday. "Without Washington gas tax revenue this year, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to start in 2013." And while the Oregon legislature is currently in session, there are no plans to vote the issue this year.
As The Columbian's story also pointed out:
Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed a 10-year, $3.6 billion revenue package for road maintenance last month, but did not give plans on money for new state projects such as the CRC. Hammond said there was talk by the Legislature to ask voters for a new 9.5 cent gas tax to raise about $10 billion for new projects. But as it struggles with shortfalls in the general fund and in education, she said âIâm worried itâs not going to happen.â