The 2013 Oregon legislature is off to a rousing start, tackling the tough issues. A special Joint Committee on the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project has been established because, after all, ramming a light rail line into downtown Vancouver, Washington is of critical importance to all Oregonians. As Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn) observed in announcing the formation of the Committee:
“We need a new bridge. We need to be able to safely move our people and our goods across the mighty Columbia.”
Whatever. Like a good Democratic, he ignores the fact that there's nothing wrong with the current bridges; they're more structurally sound than many, such as the Marquam bridge over the mighty Willamette. What's really needed are mitigations to freeway constrictions at the Rose Quarter area in Oregon. But that alone wouldn't ram loot rail into Vancouver, which is really the main goal.
Note to Petey: marijuana was legalized in Washington - not Oregon - so we really don't need a "joint committee".
Meanwhile, the planners and designers over at the "Columbia River Crossing" bridge project submitted their latest, new and improved design for a 116-foot-high loot rail bridge to the U.S. Coast Guard last week, asking for a permit to build a bridge that will still impede river traffic - although the added eleven feet in elevation would add at least another $30 million in cost to their $3.5 billion loot rail dream. They'd also have to pay mitigation costs to at least four companies, whose products won't fit under their revised bridge. But ramming loot rail into Vancouver is so important that river commerce and jobs can go straight to hell, as far as the brain-trust at CRC is concerned. Same for the US Army Corps of Engineers, whose channel-maintenance rigs wouldn't clear the structure, either.
But eight Republicans representing parts of Washington's Clark County have signed a letter to the USCG asking them to adhere to their original height requirements rather than accede to political pressure to approve the 116-foot clearance. Even a Democrat agrees that 116 feet is too low, though she declined to sign the letter.
And the charades go on.