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Forward progress continues on Columbia River Crossing
The Columbia River Crossing project continues its forward march, with a number of important developments in recent weeks.
  • Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has signed legislation that allows tolling the Columbia River Crossing. The legislation, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6445, allows the Washington State Transportation Commission, the tolling authority in Washington, to work with its Oregon counterpart, the Oregon Transportation Commission, on mutual toll rate setting for the project. The Oregon Transportation Commission is granted toll authorization through Oregon law.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s budget proposal for the upcoming federal fiscal year recommends that the Columbia River Crossing receive $39 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program for the project’s light rail component.  The project is moving through the New Starts “funding queue” and is nearing the point at which the federal government will begin to provide significant resources for light rail. 
  • Recently the CRC unveiled its concepts for phasing and sequencing of construction.  Governor Kitzhaber asked the project to look for a streamlined and realistic project with an achievable financing plan that reduces risks to the state and produces the greatest benefits to safety and freight mobility as soon as possible. The CRC developed an alternative to the full build project on the Oregon side with a smaller first phase footprint and reduced initial capital investment that also substantially improves safety and freight mobility while postponing some improvements to a second phase that can be built when resources are available.  The project's engineers have determined that a first phase consisting of the bridge, light rail, and the Hayden Island and SR-14 interchanges can be built at a cost of about $2.45 billion.
  • The Oregon Supreme Court has upheld earlier findings by the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals confirming the process for local authorization under state land use laws to build the CRC.
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