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Dereliction of Duty and Utter Disregard for the Well Being of People

June 6, 2012

The CRC DEIS says that the cost of one dual deck span carrying a South bound six lane freeway on the top and a pair of light rail tracks on the bottom would cost about $350 million while a second dual deck bridge with a six lane North bound freeway on the top and bike/pedestrians on the bottom deck would cost about $429 million.

Simply using the, inflation adjusted, cost per square foot of the I205 to estimate the cost of an I5 bridge from Evergreen Blvd to the South end of Hayden Island gives a cost of about $380 million.

Rebuilding the SR14 would add $122 million.

If we build a single double deck bridge for freeway only, we can expect to spend no more then the CRC’s $429 million for the more expensive of the two bridges. If we use the I205 bridge as a model, we can expect around $380 million. In either case, due to the height difference, we have to rebuild theSR14 interchange and only the SR14 interchange. Lets use the DEIS estimate of $122 million. This gives a total cost of $502-551 million.

Building just a bridge, without light rail will satisfy each of the items of the Purpose and Need Statement:

a) Improve travel safety and traffic operations on the Interstate 5 crossing’s bridges and associated interchanges;
Adding three axillary lanes and breakdown lanes satisfies this need..

 b) Improve connectivity, reliability, travel times, and operations of public
    transportation modal alternatives in the Bridge Influence Area;
Running buses in general purpose lanes can satisfy this requirement and provide faster service between downtown Vancouver and downtown Portland. (Light rail currently takes about twice as long from the Expo Center as C-Tran’s express buses take from Vancouver.)

c) Improve highway freight mobility and address interstate travel and commerce
    needs in the Bridge Influence Area;
Three added auxiliary lanes and break down lanes will satisfy this need.

d) Improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and connections to regional trail
    networks; and
Modern sidewalks, with a bike section will satisfy this need.

e) Improve the Interstate 5 river crossing’s structural integrity.
        The new structure will satisfy this need.
(Purpose & Need from DEIS, Traffic Technical Report, Page 1-1)

Conclusion this is $500-$600 million job. That is the real cost of a real solution if one drops light rail.

Since it is a Federal Highway, the Federal Highway Administration should be able to pay ½ of that, leaving $250 – $300 million for the local match.

Now, lets get to the really sad part

Remember that $250 – $300 million local match?

The CRC has already received $205 million to plan a mega project with,  that planner’s favorite toy, light rail!

Had they just planned for a solution to the problem, instead of trying to shove light rail down Vancouver’s throat, they would now be most of the way towards having this bridge funded, instead of an unbuildable, probably un-financeable design.

That local politicians on both sides of the river are approving of this tremendous waste, shows that most of them either have not done their home work or place their pet projects (light rail and ultra deluxe bike accommodations) above the financial well being of the people they allegedly represent.

These politicians are advocating spending about $3 billion, above the cost of a simple solution, just to bring their favorite toy, light rail, to Vancouver.

The fact that they advocate forcing struggling working families to pay $1200 or more per year just to get to work, shows their lack of compassion and lack of any sympathy what-so-ever. These are truly evil people, all of whom are wholly unfit to represent decent people.

(I am aware of few exceptions to this: two on the Vancouver city council, one or two small city C-Tran board members and one, maybe two, Clark County Commissioners.)

Shame on Metro.
Shame on Portland’s City council.
Shame on Trimet.
Shame on C-Tran.
Shame on most of Vancouver’s City council.
Shame on at least one Clark County Commissioner.

Even sadder (if that is possible) is that the real purpose of light rail is to promote something most people do not want – high density development. Worse yet,  light rail does not really attract development. Tax abatements and other government subsidies are what really causes the high density development.

A fully informed electorate would toss them all out of office ASAP.
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