February 12th, 2013 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Legislature, Business, Politics

Bipartisan Group Forms to Oppose Columbia River Crossing Project

     
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Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows.

On the heels of yesterday's first hearing on House Bill 2800, the proposal to provide Oregon's $450 million down-payment to the proposed $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing project, several groups who normally would not agree to be in the same zip code are coming together to oppose the project.

The new group calls itself "Stop the CRC: A Bipartisan Coalition for a Responsible Solution."

From the left, the umbrella group Coalition for a Livable Future, whose members include more than 100 environmental, labor and social services organizations and the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, are joining a conservative groups, including the Oregon Taxpayer Association, Americans for Prosperity-Oregon and the Cascade Policy Institute.

Portland economist Joe Cortright, whose criticism of many of the assumptions and projections that project sponsors made about traffic and tolling revenue has proven prescient, will provide technical advice to the coalition.

Groups on the left don't like the CRC, they say, because it is a 1950s-style freeway project that will harm the environment without solving congestion problems. Groups on the right object to the CRC's massive cost and shaky financial assumptions.

Here's a statement from the new group:

 Members  of  this  coalition,  called  “Stop  the  CRC:  A  Bipartisan  Coalition  For  a  Responsible   Solution,”  share  a  broad  set  of  concerns  about  the  current  plan  for  the  Columbia  River Crossing   including,  but  not  limited  to:    

• The  Oregon  legislature  is  essentially  being  asked  to  authorize  a  blank  check  for  the   funding.  

• The  construction  and  financing  of  the  CRC  will  impact  the  ability  to  maintain  existing   roads  and  bridges throughout Oregon.  

• The  proposal  is  based  on  outdated  and  incorrect  information.  

• The  CRC  will  worsen  traffic  gridlock  in other parts of Portland and in residential neighborhoods.    

"It  is  the  aim  of  all  members  of  this  coalition  to  persuade  Oregon's  2013  Legislature  not  to   appropriate  further  funding  for  this  project,"  said  coalition  spokespersons  Mara  Gross  and   Lindsay  Berschauer.    "Instead,  we  encourage  legislators  to  take  a  step  back  and  engage   Oregonians  broadly  in  an  effort  to  develop  a  more  responsible  solution  that  Oregon  can  afford." 


 
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