Kitzhaber rep: No hearings on CRC this year

By Eric Florip, Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter



Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber

A spokeswoman for Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber on Wednesday confirmed that there will be “no hearings this year” on the Columbia River Crossing.

The governor is working with lawmakers on holding hearings in January, and possibly taking up the Interstate 5 Bridge replacement during a regular legislative session in February, spokeswoman Amy Wojcicki said in an email.

The delay all but assures that the CRC won’t begin construction any earlier than 2015, if at all. The most recent project schedule had been aiming for late 2014.

Oregon has pursued a pared-down, $2.7 billion version of the project since Washington largely pulled out earlier this year. But the effort has lost momentum recently without clear legislative support in Salem.

Oregon lawmakers must re-authorize their state’s financial commitment to the CRC for the project to materialize.

As The Columbian reported Wednesday, state officials were already looking at a 2015 construction start date, and action on the project has stalled amid lingering questions.