On Other Blogs Today: CRC Dead, Shen Endorsed, McQuaid Located
1. As we mentioned in Fizz this morning, the state legislature went home without passing a transportation funding package, forcing cutbacks at transit agencies (including a 17 percent funding cut at King County Metro) and leaving major highway, road maintenance, and bridge projects unfunded.
Those unfunded bridges include the biggest one of all—the planned $3.4 billion Columbia River Crossing between Vancouver and Portland, which would have included a light rail link between the two cities. Republicans opposed the bridge because it included light rail and could have inconvenienced a handful of upriver businesses.
Over the weekend, the Oregonian reports, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared the project—which was years in the making and has already cost $170 million—dead, saying, "I am extremely disappointed that our legislative partners in the Washington state Senate failed to address the clear and present safety and economic need for this essential I-5 bridge."
Oregon's legislature already approved that state's $450 million contribution, but the Washington legislature needed to approve its own $450 million appropriation for the project to secure federal funding.
2. Portland Transport, a Portland/Vancouver transportation blog, sees the CRC's demise as good news: It means time to regroup and come up with a more transit-friendly alternative than the massive highway widening that made up the bulk of the CRC's expense. As younger voters supplant older Clark County anti-transit conservatives, they speculate, momentum could build for a CRC that's more transit-friendly than the proposed highway megaproject.
3. The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which last week endorsed state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) for mayor over current Mayor Mike McGinn, also endorsed an opponent of McGinn's frequent city council ally (and former Sierra Club compatriot), Mike O'Brien. The PI.com reports that the business group is backing Albert Shen, an engineering consultant who had raised a little over $112,000 (to O'Brien's approximately $74,000) as of the end of last month.