Supporters say they haven’t given up hope on the Columbia River Crossing getting funding in the Wshington legislature. The bill’s chances appear dim. Senate Republicans stand firm in opposition to a larger transportation package. Washington would have to kick in $450 million to match Oregon’s contribution and trigger federal funding.
Democratic State Representative Jim Moeller from Vancouver is part of the House Leadership team.
“It’s not over yet. The session actually ends July 11th. I am disappointed with the Senate. I was hoping after we passed the transportation package, they’d come back with another offer. That’s how negotiations happen. You go back and forth and move closer to a middle ground.”
Republican Senator Don Benton is a staunch opponent of the CRC and member of the Senate transportation committee. He says his caucus has deep concerns about how the CRC would extend light rail into Vancouver, and about increasing the state’s gas tax. He does not expect a vote.
Moeller says the state also has a list of other transportation problems that won’t go away, including projects in Puyallup and Spokane.
Oregon lawmakers say they’re waiting, with much interest, to see what happens in Olympia.