In the last few weeks we’ve seen dueling op-eds on the Columbia River Crossing project:
In support: Burkholder, Achterman, Hansen
Replacing the Interstate 5 bridges over the Columbia River will be the single largest public works project in Oregon history. Getting to where we are today has taken the better part of a decade, tens of millions of dollars for analysis and outreach and thousands of hours from public officials, and citizens providing advice and comment.
All this effort has made it obvious that the existing bridges are functionally and structurally broken and must be replaced. As we design a new bridge, we should strive to create a visual signature of this vital international crossroads that reflects the importance of I-5 to our economy and the central place of the Columbia in our region’s history.
In opposition: Ron Buel
The trio admits that it is a “valid concern” that greenhouse gas emissions will increase with the proposed bridge because 40 percent of such emissions are caused by fossil fuel for vehicle transportation. But these environmentalists blithely sweep aside the true impact of the 12-lane bridge they are promoting. That impact is a 40 percent increase by 2030 in vehicle-miles traveled over the crossing. That means more than a 40 percent increase in global warming pollution with any of the alternatives the bridge task force is proposing.
To be on track to meet standards passed by the Oregon and Washington legislatures, a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is required by 2030.