Washington Policy Center seeks CRC audit

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A Seattle-based policy group this week asked the Washington State Auditor's Office to investigate the Columbia River Crossing.

The Washington Policy Center, a conservative-leaning think tank, asked for an audit on the Washington State Department of Transportation and the $3.5 billion CRC, citing reports from Vancouver forensic accountant Tiffany Couch.

In October and early November, Couch's firm, Acuity Group, released a series of four reports that raised questions about the project's openness, accounting, expenditures, large cost overruns and other "irregularities." Each report was publicly released to state and federal lawmakers.

The CRC, which would replace the Interstate 5 Bridge, extend light rail to Vancouver and rebuild five miles of freeway, continues to face logistical and financial uncertainty. Project leaders hope to begin major construction in late 2014.