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Kitzhaber: Washington killed CRC project

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared the Columbia River Crossing project dead Saturday evening following the 2013 Washington Legislature's refusal to vote on a transportation funding package.

Although the 2013 Oregon Legislature committed $450 million to the project, Washington needed to commit a similar amount to secure the federal government's share of the $3.4 billion cost to replace the Interstate 5 bridge between Oregon and Washington and make related freeway improvements.

Kitzhaber's statement reads as follows:

“I am extremely disappointed that our legislative partners in the Washington State Senate failed to address the clear and present safety and economic need for this essential I-5 bridge. I have worked with three committed Washington governors on this project — starting with Governor Locke, then Governor Gregoire and now Governor Inslee — which makes the demise of the Columbia River Crossing without an up or down vote in the Senate even more disheartening. I want to thank Governor Inslee for his strong support and extraordinary effort to deliver Washington’s share of funding for the I-5 replacement bridge. The failure of the Senate to act does not eliminate the safety and economic risks to both our states, but without the funds from Washington and adherence to the project budget and schedule, neither state can incur the further costs of delay. Consequently, project managers have begun to close down the project.

“Governor Inslee and I will continue to work together, but our options will be different without Washington state’s financial partnership. Without bi-state funding, I have asked ODOT to review all of the work on the Oregon side of the project to determine if any stand-alone investments could be made to improve safety and reduce congestion on a smaller scale. That work will be subject for further legislative review.”