The Columbia River Crossing freeway mega-expansion has been slayed, there should be little doubt about this fact. Recent media hype over a potential re-animation of the nightmare project is just that: hype. It’s been speculated the moment that governor John Kitzhaber declared dead the $4-10 billion dollar freeway & light rail mega-project, Oregon AFL-CIO president Tom Chamberlain was calling up the gov, screaming expletive laden protest against such a quick surrender. Oregon might look like a progressive Democrat stronghold, but the reality is elected Dems in our state often slide into home with only 2-3% voter margins. Oregon Dems rarely have a shot at winning without a strong Labor ground game and DNC state PAC funding.
According to sources familiar with inter-legislative chatter, this last-second Hail Mary for the CRC is nothing more than posturing, simply an obligatory effort to please trade unions that lust after the biggest, costliest projects – not the kinds of cheaper, jobs-rich projects like the Common Sense Alternative to the CRC or the new CSA 2.0 plan currently being vetted.
For now, there is little worry a new CRC plan funded solely by Oregon tax payers could ever fly. According to sources, no Republicans in the Oregon legislature support such a plan should a special session be called in September. There is also internal information indicating elected Democrats fear a voter revolt should they choose to go back on their promises that funding triggers in HB2800 (Oregon’s CRC bonding bill), were in fact binding.