BRIDGES: Wash., Ore. both still non-committal on source of funding for Columbia River Crossing

Lawmakers warned during committee meeting that action must be taken soon

September 13, 2012

Although most will not touch it heading into the 2012 elections, some will all have to handle it as 2013 develops.

Lawmakers that will hold a spot in next year’s state legislature for Washington state and Oregon will have the difficult task of figuring out how they will fund the Columbia River Crossing. The federal government also will support the project financially, but that money could be directed elsewhere if no action is taken. Members of the Oregon CRC oversight committee were warned of the possible outcome during a meeting on Sept. 12.

Washington and Oregon will each have to provide about $450 million. Increasing the state’s gas tax, vehicle fee and/or vehicle title fees are measures that are being considered, but politicians are not willing to commit to any funding mechanism this close to the November elections.

The CRC oversight committees in Washington and Oregon also need to figure out how high the crossing will be. Originally it was proposed that the span would be 95 ft high, but the Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stressed the need for it to be at least 100 ft tall.