In a letter-to-the-editor (“Bridge analysis goes in a circle”) published online today, Metro Council President David Bragdon disputes the Oregonian editorial position on the Columbia River Crossing on several points:
- That all the critics are extremists:
But in dismissing that extreme, you have overlooked thoughtful and constructive questions from rational people who are supportive of the project but who — with good reasons — view the ODOT/WashDOT projections with caution, especially in regard to size.
- That all the facts are in:
When the two state DOTs (really the highway divisions) are asked about induced demand, they cite the mitigating factors above, which are valid, but they ultimately rest their case on two key statements that are unproven — and that the two DOTs will not allow to be scrutinized independently.
(Their”peer review,” conducted by traffic modelers from unenviable places like Atlanta and Dallas, was not an independent assessment of anything, but simply a confirmation of standard American terminology and methodology.)
The two underpinnings they rely on are, first, the assertion that settlement patterns will not change; and, second, that the toll will dampen demand. Neither of these two assumptions, while somewhat plausible, has been validated.
- And by implication, that 12 lanes is automatically the right answer:
We want this project built, and we want it built in a manner that serves its purpose rather than defeats its purpose.