Republican Party Chair Disses CRC and Transit in One Breath has the video of a joint appearance by Oregon Republican Party Chair Allen Alley and Metro President Tom Hughes, who have diametrically opposed positions on the Columbia River Crossing.

10 responses to “Republican Party Chair Disses CRC and Transit in One Breath”

  1. Actually it took Alley several breaths–his anti-transit remarks came in at the end. Of course, his suggestion that cars can “route around congestion” generally has yet to be observed in practice.

    The other interesting thing is that this was a business forum, and had a generally conservative audience–and the remark that got the most guffaws was a joke at the expensive of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

  2. Someone needs to point out to Tom Hughes that the Port of Portland is never going to be a growth industry. The port in Los Angeles and Longbeach, and other west coast ports, are worried about LOSING business when large container ships can go through the Panama canal to eastern ports.

    You can’t blame the guys over at the Port. They are responsible for making it a success. But someone needs to take a realistic view of the Port’s potential before investing a lot of money in infrastructure to support their ambitions. And its real potential is about what it is now. Its not going to suddenly be putting major new demands on the transportation system. To the contrary, its more likely to see those demands decline.

  3. @JustSaying – I’m hopefully that the Pacific Northwest has a future as an exporter to China and the rest of Asia. Regardless of what happens at the Panama Canal, we will still be exporting our agricultural products (and perhaps one day, more manufactured products) via the Port of Portland.

    I have no clue if the export market would drive increased traffic to the Port of Portland, but I do believe that exporting to China is a huge opportunity for us. Already the price of hazelnuts is quite high because China seems to love buying Oregon hazelnuts.

  4. Portland and the lower Columbia River ports together are the largest exporter of wheat and grain from North America. Potash is another big export. Both come by rail and barge for the most part. No demand for more roadways there.
    Container exports are virtually insignificant (1% of West Coast traffic) with empty containers having the largest share. Its extremely unlikely that T-6 will ever be a major container export terminal with a 43′ River channel and two pilots to get in and out. Export containers now and in the future will go out of Tacoma/Seattle for the most part, just as SeaTac is the major internation air hub of the NW. PDX, our airport, however…where the Port now has its fancy HQ, is very significant for both air cargo (hi-tech, fresh produce) and people, and that is where the Port of Portland should focus. There is no justification for a $1B Marine Drive interchange on I-5 to get mostly empty containers to T-6.

  5. And the big debate now is over coal exports through the region, which will also be coming by train or barge. What, exactly, is going to come through the port in the future that needs the CRC?

  6. Port of Portland’s big advantage over the other West Coast ports is that our rail connection to the east–through the gorge rather than over mountains–is far superior.

    But again–moving cargo from ships to trains or vice versa has precious little to do with the CRC. If anything, we ought to be upgrading the BNSF bridge; not just moving the navigation channel to better align with the existing bridge, but possibly adding additional tracks on the bridge.

  7. How much freight traffic to/from Portland crosses the Columbia, anyway? Not sure if the stats actually bear this out, but I’m guessing more freight is shipped along I-84 and other east-west corridors.

    As for shipping cargo by air, it works great as long as facilities can keep up with demand, keeping in mind that expanding air facilities is likely to be one of the major infrastructure challenges of the near future.

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