Last April the governors of Washington and Oregon announced plans to break ground on the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project in 2013, and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber promised an independent financial review of the CRC’s financial options.

Gov. John Kitzhaber called for independent financial review of the CRC’s financial options.

“I appreciate very much the concerns about financing expressed by my longtime friend Joe Cortright* and others who shared his view, and I’ve taken that input seriously,” Kitzhaber said during the press conference, which can be viewed in the video above.

“Governor Gregoire and I are absolutely committed to an inclusive, transparent, accountable process as we begin this new phase of project finance. Towards that end, we have directed the treasurers of our two states to work with their own bond experts – and if necessary with external specialists – to conduct an independent financial review of the CRC’s financial options that would include an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses as well as the project’s phasing schedules, with contingency plans if some of the funding does not materialize. This review, which will be completed later this year, will then be followed by investment-grade analysis of the project financing.”

At the request of COUV.COM the Washington State treasurer’s office provided a financial review that was conducted by the debt management division of the Oregon State Treasury in July, 2011. The office also released two separate reports from independent analysts looking at the CRC’s traffic/toll revenue forecasts.

Tomorrow we’ll present the findings of those three reports.

* The well-documented cost to taxpayers, if the CRC stays on budget, is $10 billion. This was established by the Cortright Report (PDF) which used data from an independent review panel hired by the governors of Washington and Oregon. (View the panel’s final report.)

Video shot by Josephine Wentzel
Video edited by Jordan Thompson