Do you hope to see the Columbia River Crossing bridge project go forward?
SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said he'll give up on plans to build a new $2.8 billion bridge across the Columbia River if the Legislature doesn't fund the project during the five-week session that begins next month.
Kitzhaber said in a letter to lawmakers Monday that "Oregon must either decisively move the project to construction or refocus and prioritize our resources."
He said continuing with the project will require funding from the Oregon Legislature before the end of the session and a signed agreement with the state of Washington by March 15.
Plans call for the Columbia River Cross widening part of Interstate 5, replacing the existing Interstate Bridge with a tolled freeway-style structure and extending Portland's light-rail to Vancouver.
Kitzhaber and bridge proponents have said the plan would boost economic development, improve safety and decrease congestion.
Critics in Vancouver have rejected the project's light rail component and called for more road improvements while critics in Oregon have decried the road improvements and called for more transit investments.
In June of 2013, the Wash. Legislatures failed to secure $450 million in funding, the state's share, and sent the CRC into a tailspin. Since then, Kitzhaber has sought to forge an Oregon-only strategy for the project.
Critics of the Oregon-only options have expressed concerns about everything from the project's toll revenue projections to its impact on traffic in the Interstate 205 corridor. Oregon State Treasure Ted Wheeler recently called into questions the feasibility of the CRC's financing plan.