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Decision Makers Consider Future Plans For CRC Amid SW Wash. Concerns

OPB | Nov. 9, 2012 midnight | Updated: Nov. 13, 2012 2:51 a.m. | Portland

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Decision makers are considering future plans for the Columbia River Crossing, now that nine legislators from Southwest Washington have made it clear they have major reservations about the current shape of the project.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, and several state and county leaders - all Republicans - say new direction is needed. They point to the failure of a CTRAN bond issue as a public rejection of having light rail in the bridge design.

Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat, is a former member of the Transportation Committee and now serves on Ways and Means. He notes over $100 million has been spent on planning so far.

Blumenauer explained, “We have some serious issues with the Columbia River Crossing, at best. If people are going to pull the plug on how it’s going forward, that will easily set it back ten or fifteen years. I think it’s a real unfortunate development.”

A spokesman for Washington Senator Patty Murray did not respond to a request for comment. She has advocated for the project as a key to the region’s economic future. And Murray has said the federal funding needed for it won’t come through unless the bridge carries light rail.

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