Report challenges CRC bridge cost statements

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A new report this week by Vancouver forensic accountant Tiffany Couch questioned apparent discrepancies between public and internal cost estimates of the Columbia River Crossing.

Citing internal budget documents and a cost estimate validation report, among other sources, Couch’s firm Acuity Group argues that CRC officials have publicly understated the cost of new interchanges planned as part of the $3.4 billion project, and overstated the cost of a new Interstate 5 Bridge. That puts an increased burden on toll-paying drivers — the majority of whom would be Clark County residents — to back the cost of interchanges in both Washington and Oregon, according to the report.

The report is Couch’s sixth on the CRC since last fall, each criticizing various components of the project and its finances. Couch has said questionable practices by the CRC are enough to warrant an investigation.

The CRC would replace the I-5 Bridge, rebuild five miles of interchanges in Washington and Oregon, and extend light rail into Vancouver.

The entire report and previous reports are available at www.acuityforensics.com/subs/press.html.