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Politics

Could Tolling Save The Columbia River Crossing?

OPB | Jan. 15, 2014 12:40 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 15, 2014 1:48 p.m.

Early conceptual drawing of the CRC bridge.

Early conceptual drawing of the CRC bridge.

Columbia River Crossing.org

It’s been called the “zombie bridge” because the project keeps coming back from what seems like death.

Oregon lawmakers held a hearing about the Columbia River Crossing on Tuesday — a few short weeks before the February 3rd start of the 2014 legislative session. Last year, the Oregon legislature approved $450 million in state funding for the project, but lawmakers in Washington rejected a corresponding bill. Now Oregon legislators want to find a way to move forward with the project without funding from Washington. The proposed solution is tolls.

A recent analysis found that tolling drivers who cross the bridge could generate enough revenue to pay back state and federal money designated for the bridge. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For example, Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler says he won’t approve any bond money for the bridge until he can confirm that it’s legal for Oregon to collect tolls from Washington drivers.

How would tolls affect the way you use the I-5 bridge between Oregon and Washington?

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