CRC gets $3.3 million federal grant




U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a $3.3 million grant to the Columbia River Crossing to help pay for design and engineering for the Oregon section of the project.

Oregon, project officials said earlier this year, must come up with $595 million for its part of highway interchange improvements; those improvements are expected to be phased as money is allotted.

The grant, from the Interstate Discretionary Program, will support preliminary engineering and final design for a portion of Interstate 5 from the Interstate 5 Bridge to Columbia Boulevard within the city limits of Portland.

The project is now conducting design work ahead of major bridge and highway construction, anticipated to begin in 2014, the CRC said in a news release. Officials bumped back the expected construction start date earlier this year from 2013.

Nationwide, more than 1,500 requests totaling more than $2.5 billion flowed in for what ultimately was just $363 million in grants distributed as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II, the U.S. DOT said. The $363 million given to all requests is less than the $400 million to $500 million the CRC hopes to get in discretionary federal spending.

The states of Oregon and Washington received more than $28 million, including the money for the Columbia River Crossing project.