Should Gov. John Kitzhaber push through an Oregon-only Columbia River Crossing, Clark County stands to make nearly $71 million in sales tax revenue.
The figure was revealed in a document released yesterday by C-Tran, Clark County's transit agency, as part of a financial plan to pay for the operations and maintenance of a light rail line into Vancouver.
The C-Tran analysis breaks out the total $2.8 billion cost of the Interstate 5 bridges, light rail line and highway interchange expansions and finds that nearly $847 million could be taxed by Southwest Washington.
Clark County's sales tax rate is 8.4 percent, meaning the state would collect a $71 million tax bill. Kitzhaber's new CRC plan is also uses Oregon highway funds to build an interchange and other improvements in Washington, without that state contributing any money.
The money wouldn't entirely come from Oregon taxpayer coffers—CRC planners hope the federal government will chip in $850 million on the project, and the megaproject's finances also hang on $1.3 billion in tolls.
C-Tran spokesman Jim Quintana tells WW the extra $847 million his agency identified would produce a "windfall tax."
"The money comes from all additional (construction) activity that’s going to be going on during that time and what the additional sales tax collection would be," Quintana says.
The Columbian covered the details of how C-Tran would get the $2.5 million it needs to run a MAX line to Clark College. (Including a mystery revenue source: among the agency's plans are bringing in more than $400,000 a year from an unnamed "third party source." Quintana confirmed C-Tran isn't sure where that money would come from yet).