The Columbia River Crossing Coalition, a bistate group of businesses and citizens who support the CRC, sent a letter to Oregon and Washington's governors today, asking for a revived $2.75 billion project.
The letter, released late this afternoon, comes on the heels of CRC officials confirming yesterday they are looking for new ways to revive the $3.5 billion megaproject, even though Govs. John Kitzhaber and Jay Inslee declared it dead one month ago, when the Washington Senate killed its funding.
WW reported on July 18 that the project planners are seeking to keep the Interstate 5 light rail, highway and bridge construction alive by continuing to apply for all the permits it needs prior to construction.
"We are writing today about a phased option that we believe deserves a broader, deeper and
expedited review," the letter reads. "In preliminary discussions with agency staff, we found this option appealing."
Here's what the group proposes:
This phased option replaces the bridge, connects light rail, and improves Hayden Island and Marine Drive interchanges in Oregon. Without Washington state funds, the Washington
roadway and interchange improvements will be phased in when Washington funding becomes
The estimated cost of this phased option would be about $2.75 billion. Federal partners would
continue to pay for light rail, bridge users (tolls) would pay for the replacement bridge, landings
and improvements to Washington’s SR 14, and Oregon’s state funds would improve Oregon’s
Hayden Island and Marine Drive interchanges.
The letter has two-and-a-half pages of signatures, mostly from the influential business and political players in Vancouver. Among them: John Rudi, president of Thompson Metal Fab., the only business that would be impacted by the CRC's too-low 116 foot clearance and that hasn't struck a mitigation deal with the project.
Still no word from officials on how they will get around the Oregon Legislature's caveat that Washington state also fork over its share of funding by Sept. 30.