Daily Journal of Commerce: CRC's Demise Means Money for Delayed Projects

Over $116 million that would have simply paid for debt service on the Columbia River Crossing over the next two years can now be applied to important maintenance projects elsewhere, reports the Daily Journal of Commerce:

That is because $116.6 million that the state expects to receive in federal money – previously allocated to pay for two years of debt service on the CRC – could be reallocated to eight highway projects around the state, Oregon Department of Transportation officials said this week.

The projects, such as a $40.7 million Ross Island Bridge paint job and a $19 million Oregon Route 99W paving job, had been planned for construction under the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) between 2016 and 2018. Now, they would start as early as this year if the Oregon Transportation Commission were to issue approval next week, ODOT spokesman Dave Thompson said.

One of the key risks of an Oregon-only Columbia River Crossing--a $3 billion freeway and transit project that depended on uncertain tolls to hold water--was that it would become a drain to important transportation safety and maintenance projects throughout the state. 1000 Friends highlighted these dangers in our recent CRC Facts report.

That report and the efforts of concerned citizens and advocacy groups from a wide range of perspectives helped defeat the Oregon-only CRC in the 2014 legislative session. As the Daily Journal of Commerce reports, this could mean a bunch of important projects throughout the state now will see the light of day. These include:

  • Paving 6 miles of Interstate 5 from the Marquam Bridge to Capitol Highway; rehabilitating two bridges ($10.2 million)
  • Paving 3.8 miles of Interstate 84 from The Dalles to 15 Mile Creek; constructing a bridge over Three Mile Creek ($18.3 million)
  • Painting the Ross Island Bridge, phase 1 ($40.7 million)
  • Paving 5 miles of Oregon Route 213 from Mulino to Blackman’s Corner ($2.8 million)
  • Paving 20 miles of Oregon Route 99W from Amity to Monmouth; adding ADA-standard sidewalk ramps in Monmouth ($19 million)
  • Paving 13 miles of U.S. Route 199 from Slate Creek to Cave Junction; adding rumble strip ($6 million)
  • Paving 33 miles of U.S. Route 395 from Harney County line to Lake Albert ($15 million)
  • Chip sealing 20 miles of U.S. Route 20 from Black Canyon to Malheur River ($4.6 million)

As we look to what's next in the I-5 corridor between Portland and Washington state, 1000 Friends believes our choices should be guided by their impact on priorities around Oregon. This news is an important reminder of the kinds of projects that could be neglected if we make the wrong choice.

Read the full DJC story here.