Sept. 30 has come and gone, but the Columbia River Crossing still hasn’t found its way to the floors of the Oregon Legislature.
Monday was the last day Washington could commit funding to the Interstate 5 Bridge replacement and thereby meet one of the conditions required to keep Oregon’s money on the table. That didn’t happen; Oregon’s previous authorization of $450 million to the CRC has technically expired.
But project supporters have said the project may still emerge in the near future. A policy director for Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler said last week that the Legislature could still re-authorize its financial commitment to the CRC at a later date. Lawmakers are currently in Salem for a special session focused on public employee pension reform and education funding, among other issues.
Tim Raphael, a spokesman for Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, stayed mum on whether the CRC could come up this week, or during a possible second special session later on.
“We’re focused on the special session we’re in right now to boost education funding and restore lost school days,” Raphael said in an email.
CRC planners have said they hope to apply for a crucial federal grant this fall. Funding from Oregon, which is now the lead state on the revised $2.7 billion project, would have to be in place before that happens.– Eric Florip