Executive Summary Excerpts:
It is our opinion that the CRC project office continues to mislead both the public and legislators by claiming the total costs of the project to be $3.5 billion. These costs represent solely the costs to construct the project. The CRC project office’s current funding plans call for an additional $2.0 billion in debt service costs, toll collection costs, and ongoing operation and maintenance costs; bringing the total cost of the CRC project to approximately $5.5 billion.
It is also our opinion that the CRC project office has misled the public by indicating that just $1.2 billion in tolls will be collected as payment for this project. The CRC project office’s own documents clearly indicate that the $1.2 billion in toll collection represents only capital related costs. According to the CRC’s finance plans, an additional $2.0 billion in tolls will need to be collected for the aforementioned debt service and bridge operation and maintenance costs. In fact, the CRC debt service schedules estimate that a total of $3.3 billion, not 1.2 billion, in tolls will be collected over a 30 year period. The remaining costs of the project, $2.2 billion, are slated to come from state and federal funds ($900 million from Oregon and Washington, $850 million from FTA New Starts grant funds, and $400 million from Federal Discretionary funds, with $147 million already committed and spent). It is our opinion that the $400 million Federal
Discretionary funds will not be realized. Our opinion is based on the testimony of the WSDOT CFO, Amy Arnis, who reported to legislative officials that this discretionary funding program is no longer a part of the United States’ budget, and hasn’t been for at least a year.
Lastly, given the billions of dollars in unfunded liability on current Washington State transportation projects, we are concerned about the legislature’s willingness to incur additional debt. The CRC funding plan requires that both Washington and Oregon state legislators commit $450 million each ($900 million total) to the project. In the event that state funding is not committed, the ability for the CRC project office to obtain the additional $850 million in FTA New Starts funding is in jeopardy.
There are four reports. To see the others, see:
Report 1: State law violations
Report 2: Questionable accounting and contracting irregularities
Report 3: False and misleading testimony
Click on the PDF thumbnail to view entire report and exhibits: