The citizens of Clark County have voted "no" on light rail propositions. Disregarding voter's wishes, a small number of people (how did they get this power?) decided that light rail would, not should, be included in any Columbia River Crossing plan.
Ignoring maritime regulations, the bridge height proposed by the planners was determined by designating Clark College to be at the end of the rail line. The 195-foot clearance required by the Coast Guard would place the end of the line farther north than the college. The planning chairperson stated they would make accommodations for ships too high to clear the bridge, but no plans have been offered to accomplish this.
The grant applications to the federal government for the CRC arbitrarily included light rail. Now submitted, the CRC committee can claim it cannot change the grant application to exclude light rail because a new one would go to the bottom of the pile for consideration.
Sam Adams, Portland mayor, and Paula Hammond, our state Secretary of Transportation, have stated no light rail, no bridge. The cost of adding light rail to the CRC is approximately $1 billion — can we really afford light rail at this time, if ever?
Harvey D. Olson