The editors of the paper, Brancaccio and Laird, have long made their perspectives on the CRC project known:
1. "We" have to have this Project.
2. It HAD to be 12 lanes (it's 6 through lanes... just like now)
3. It HAD to have light rail.
4. "WE" did not need a vote on this project.
Well, as always, my perspective over the years has not changed: the first priority for this project should be a county-wide vote.
But they don't want another defeat at the polls, because in past efforts, this thing has never come close to gaining majority support.
And, of course, the vast majority of those pushing this massive waste of billions will not have to pay the tolls to go to work every day... and those who do will certainly not be asked what they want, because, well, what those paying the bills actually want is meaningless to the power brokers.
We have long since known that light rail is not, in any way, a requirement for the bridge replacement. In fact, most sentient beings in the region are aware that replacing this bridge will do absolutely nothing to address the only substantive reason to do so: congestion relief and freight mobility.
To achieve congestion relief and freight mobility, additional bridges in other locations must be built. And if Oregon refuses... well, then... don't build anything.... because in this case, "anything" is far too expensive for the "nothing" we will get in return.
I have been claiming for years that the entirety of the purpose of this project has been to get light rail across the river into downtown Vancouver... the camel's nose under the tent flap approach.
So, low and behold, the Willamette Week does the story that, well, confirms my allegations, finding the CRC guilty of being a light rail scam in a bridge replacement's clothing:
As I have been saying for almost a decade, loot rail is the driver for the CRC/Bridge Replacement program
In its entirety, the massive, multi-billion scam known as the CRC was never driven by any "need" to replace the I-5 Bridge for reasons of freight mobility or to relieve congestion.More:
As I have been saying, quite literally for years, the ENTIRE reason to replace the bridge was to get the camel's nose of light rail under the Clark County tent flap, and to do it without asking us.
Now, it seems, no less then the Supreme Court of Oregon agrees.... with me.
The Oregon Supreme Court has succeeded in doing what scores of public meetings, thousands of pages of reports, and endless public relations spin could not: Give us the original rationale behind the proposed $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing.
The answer, according to the court: The massive Interstate 5 bridge and freeway project is a “political necessity” to persuade Clark County residents to accept something they previously didn’t want—a MAX light-rail line from Portland to Vancouver. (To read the Feb. 16, 2012 Oregon Supreme Court decision regarding the Columbia River Crossing Project, click here (PDF, 18 pages))
Project opponents filed a legal challenge to the way Metro, the regional planning agency, granted sweeping land-use approval to the project. The Oregon Supreme Court sided mostly with Metro.But Chief Justice Paul De Muniz, writing for the majority, highlighted an inconvenient set of facts for CRC backers.
He wrote in the Feb. 16 opinion that most of the project—namely the 10-lane freeway bridge and new interchanges—was put forward to get Clark County to agree to the light-rail line.
De Muniz cited statements that Metro made in the land-use process and Metro’s lawyer repeated before his court.
“It was politically impossible for the light rail project to proceed without also building new interstate bridges across the Columbia River,” De Muniz wrote.
“Or as Metro later summarized it: ‘There is no light rail without the freeway bridge[s] being replaced.’”
Backers have cited traffic and safety issues as the top reasons to build the CRC. But the court ruling means those and other justifications were created after officials decided to give a sop to Clark County, now worth $2.5 billion.
But all of that brings us to the 8000 pound elephant in the room:
Why hasn't the Columbian printed this story?
This is the truth, isn't it?
Now, I've given them props for doing the story on the incompetence of the CRC on the bridge heigth issue, the rip offs by the CRC contractors, and actually printing a story where Tim Leavitt longs for the days of the Third Reich in his approach to government and the CRC project.
Given the condemnatory nature of these stories on a project the newspaper would do anything to accomplish, including cheerfully violating anything that looks like a journalistic tenet to get it built, those had to be tough stories to print.
But that doesn't explain why they have yet to mention the truth, as seen by the Oregon Supreme Court: As I have repeatedly written in this blog, this has ALWAYS and ONLY been about light rail. The rest of this is eyewash.
This was never about bridge safety. It was never about shorter commuter times. It was never about freight mobility or about congestion. It was about scamming the Tim Leave-its and the Steve Stuarts of the world into shafting a half-million people into paying for a project we don't want, need or can afford.
The people, of course, have the right to know. But I suppose if they were to print it, they'd have to deal with the fallout of admitting I was right.... for years.... and they were wrong..... for years.... as they deliberately mislead, deliberately attacked... and deliberately failed in their duty to the community they allegedly serve.
And this time, they can't use the "lack of a paper trail" as an excuse.
This time, it's because they don't want you to know.
And that's just sad.