PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski visited Portland Wednesday touting thousands of jobs that would be created by the Columbia River Crossing project.
The crossing is slated for groundbreaking in 2012. But Oregon and Washington first need to come up with about $4 billion for the project.
"The aesthetics should not be driving this conversation," Kulongoski remarked while at a MAX station. "The economy should. And the thousands and thousands of family wage jobs when we start construction of this new bridge."
Kulongoski said light rail expansion plans have always included neighboring Vancouver, Wash., another reason to built the replacement bridge.
The governor said some estimates showed 27,000 in job creation over a 10-year period.
The bridge is expected to have light rail, bike and pedestrian lanes.
A meeting of the project sponsors' council is scheduled for Monday in Vancouver.