Bragdon Takes Oregonian to Task on CRC

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.

6 Comments

6 Responses to Bragdon Takes Oregonian to Task on CRC

  1. billb
    February 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link

    Let’s dream big !
    There is an Exhibit of Artworks depicting a Green Park – Roofed Multi-modal CRC Bridge at the NW Lucky Lab Brewpub on nw Quimby [activity rm]
    The Park Roof will absorb rain driven pollution runoff [saving a fortune in treatment] , and the Park Plantlife will absorb CO2 , 365 days a year.
    This will have a big impact on the Carbon Footprint of the Bridge , for the same money as the toy woindmills.
    The graceful arcing park will connect our two states in a swath of bikes , picnics , and artworks. Let’s dream big , and build a Green Gateway to the Northwest.

  2. Terry Parker
    February 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm Link

    Bragdon said: “We want this project built, and we want it built in a manner that serves its purpose rather than defeats its purpose.”

    If any group of bureaucrats represent the extremist point of view, they are for the most part at Metro. Clearly, the Metro Council exemplifies a dictator like socialistic control mindset when it involves the lifestyles of public. The purpose of the Columbia River Crossing is to better connect the two sides of the river together with an artery that accommodates the movement of people and goods. Using divisive tolls to manipulate motor vehicle travel does just the opposite. A bridge does not stimulate population growth, but population growth does create the demand for a bigger bridge. Since the Metro area has committed planning efforts to accommodate a significant increase in regional population growth, constructing anything less than a 12-lane bridge will be obsolete and too small the day it opens. Additionally, a 12-lane bridge is far safer option for motorists than either of the two smaller alternatives

    Many of the new clean technology innovations and fuel sources that will power the cars of the future have not even been developed yet. Any ploy to build a less than 12-lane bridge that will be functionally obsolete tomorrow MUST NOT be based on the motor vehicle technology of today. Furthermore, constructing more high capacity transit that requires additional taxpayer subsidies, including for daily operation, only increases the costs of living in the region, diminishes our freedom of mobility and induces demand for more high density, often taxpayer subsidized, heat island development. Metro would rather wastefully squander away 4.5 million in transportation dollars to fund the Drive Less-Save More campaign than spend the money to construct something that would actually help relieve roadway congestion and assist motorists move through traffic better.

    Tax equity as it relates to locally paid transportation taxes is currently absent. The fact that Metro is so intolerant of any resistance to their way of thinking that would charge high tolls to motorists should make inquiring minds want to investigate their undeclared motives. Extreme bridge tolls can only do harm to Oregon’s small business community, the economy, tourism, working class families and people on fixed incomes who depend on their cars and trucks to get around. Metro’s “don’t build roadways and they will use another mode” theory already has done significant harm to the economy.

    “If” tolling on the CRC does occur, it should be minimal, removed when the bridge is paid for, and to be equitable, tolls or fees MUST be charged to the users of ALL modes of vehicle transport including requiring that bicyclists and transit passengers pay their own way. Neither transit nor bicycling can possibly be considered sustainable until they are financially self-sustainable. Any revenue derived from motorist paid tolls must only be applied to pay for the highway part of the crossing. Moreover, “if” tolling on the CRC does occur, it must only apply to the I-5 bridge and NOT apply to the I-205 Glenn Jackson Bridge. The people of the of Portland and Vancouver need a non-tolled route across the Columbia that ties the region together

  3. Matthew
    February 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link

    “Many of the new clean technology innovations and fuel sources that will power the cars of the future have not even been developed yet.”

    This negates your entire post. If we develop a new clean technology and energy source better than gasoline, there is no reason to not go ahead and replace the tires on the cars with helicopter blades, (since that is really the only thing holding back personal helicopters: The energy usage.) And what is the point of building a 12 lane bridge if the cars fly?

  4. Jeff F
    February 4, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link

    Terry Parker Says:

    If any group of bureaucrats represent the extremist point of view, they are for the most part at Metro. Clearly, the Metro Council exemplifies a dictator like socialistic control mindset when it involves the lifestyles of public.

    I hate to break it to you, Terry, but socialist dictators are generally not up for election every four years. And in direct contrast to your characterization of them as anti-democratic, the reality is that (from Metro):

    Metro is the only regional government agency in the United States whose governing body, the Metro Council, is directly elected by the region’s voters. This meets a provision of Metro’s home rule charter, approved by the voters in 1992, which insists that Metro’s leadership be elected, visible and accountable.

    If the citizens of the region think Metro officers are dictatorial socialists, they have the option of electing someone else to fill their seats. Why do you suppose that hasn’t happened?

  5. Dave
    February 4, 2009 at 7:44 pm Link

    Additionally, a 12-lane bridge is far safer option for motorists than either of the two smaller alternatives

    Not entirely. Studies have shown that more than 5 directional lanes can increase the number of crashes and congestion due to needing to move over 3 lanes from the on-ramp to a through-lane. Because of the combination of extra weaving and the extra space a lane change requires (space open in two lanes instead of one), it typically increases congestion as well.

    A 12 lane bridge is really a bad idea, unless it’s barrier separated. It’s possible, but not really necessary or at all cost effective. A 2+4 wouldn’t add significant throughput, and would add even more width to the bridge. You’d almost definitely get better results in a 3+2 configuration.

  6. Terry Parker
    February 6, 2009 at 8:08 am Link

    At Metro’s public hearing yesterday, Bragdon said in the defense of tolls (and not a quote); the users of the bridge are being provided a service (the bridge) and therefore should pay for that service. That same doctrine must then be applied to all people using the service of the bridge that must include all modes of transport with equal charges (tolls or fees) for that service. Furthermore, if the Bragdon doctrine is taken a step farther, Max passengers are provided a secondary service, that of being provided the vehicle used to cross the bridge. Therefore, since Max passengers are actually receiving two services, the toll or service fee ought to be higher than for people who do not use this taxpayer funded vehicle.

    One other note from the public hearing, a lot was said about the movement of freight. However there is much more to interstate commerce that also must be considered. This includes, but not limited to, the professional trades people (plumbers, electricians, etc) that carry the tools of their trade in their vehicles, and even people using their personal cars, trucks and/or SUVs carrying merchandise to trade shows usually held in hotels, at fairgrounds or in expo/convention centers.

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