1000 Friends Stands with Salem Residents Against a Massive "3rd Bridge"

A big bridge built on shaky projections for population, traffic flow, and toll revenues. Sound familiar? But we're not talking about the Columbia River Crossing between Portland and Vancouver; this is the so-called "3rd Bridge" across the Willamette in Salem. 1000 Friends joined local residents opposing this proposal at a hearing Monday, urging the City Council to reject the proposal.

Our Willamette Valley Advocate, Mia Nelson, submitted testimony pointing out numerous inaccuracies or unreliable assumptions in the data being used to justify the bridge and its financing. From population forecasts that ignore updated data predicting smaller increases for Polk and Marion counties, to traffic projections ignoring significant reductions in Oregonians' driving habits, many of the statistics used to justify the bridge's need are outdated and overstated. 

Additionally, the current assumptions rely on tolling to show that it will be possible to finance the data. But the projections for tolling revenue are likely exaggerated as well, as recent examples from Washington state and California have demonstrated. A shortfall in toll revenue could put Salem taxpayers on the hook for a lot of money.

The No 3rd Bridge group writes on its Facebook page about last night's hearing: "NO 3rd Bridge supporters not only outnumbered the proponents, we gave three times as many comments to the Council. Our comments combined accurate data with reasoned logic, compelling ideas to solve peak hour congestion, and passion about the damage to neighborhoods we want to avoid."

Ultimately, the Council chose to continue the public hearing on May 13, at 6:30 PM. If you live in Salem, mark your calend and prepare to join your neighbors opposing this bridge that will do far more harm than good for the City of Salem and the greater region. For more information, please contact Mia Nelson at mia-AT-friends.org.

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