In his July 1 column, “When campaigns heat up, so does the bridge rhetoric,” John Laird accuses anyone doubting that the Columbia River Crossing is “a pretty good deal” for Clark County residents of being delusional. Knowledge of key facts omitted by Laird — and already reported in this newspaper — reflects his slur back upon him.
Laird ignores the CRC’s budget-inflating wastefulness. The prime example here is Vancouver light rail. It takes up 34 percent of total estimated CRC costs ($1.2 billion will be requested from the federal government for light rail out of a total CRC budget of $3.5 billion). However, it will carry less than 3 percent of total bridge traffic (2011 average daily Interstate 5 bridge traffic was 128,208 vehicles, while downtown Vancouver’s CRC-dedicated parking structures will hold space for only 2,890 vehicles taken off the road by light-rail users).
Laird fails to mention that the one-third “local contribution” to pay for such waste will most likely come from tolls, which are estimated to cost Clark County’s daily cross-river commuters at least $1,000 per year (likely much more). Remember, these commuters already pay Oregon income taxes for their jobs. A “good deal”? Only if you’re delusional. Don’t be delusional like Laird.