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• The proposal is based on outdated and incorrect information.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."