It is both surprising and appalling to me that there are so many people in this area, politicians most of all, who are stubbornly adhering to the current plan for the Columbia River Crossing and its light rail component. They don’t seem to get one small fact: There is no money. It’s simple economics — the final project’s construction will have to be paid for with money probably borrowed from China, and will only add to this country’s debt, which is, in fact, our personal debt.
Much of the public input and money spent on the project is moot at this point. This project began during boom times, but now we’re in bust and must adjust to the reality that exists.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, has been criticized for a lack of leadership and vision for being pragmatic and recognizing that we’re throwing good money after bad to stay the course for a project that is far too expensive. Her vision, focused on all elements of this project and firmly fixed on the long term, is the correct one. This is true leadership. Ignoring the fiscal reality and maintaining a commitment to a project that will only continue America’s trajectory toward bankruptcy are not.