A coalition of opponents to the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project (CRC) hosted a five-hour meeting and tour Saturday to promote a number of alternatives to the current $10 billion* mega project.

Smarter Bridge Tour

A group of 36 embark on a tour of the CRC footprint.

Members of the new Smarter Bridge Committee believe CRC planners dismissed more affordable options before fully vetting them. The CRC plan will replace the current Interstate Bridge, extend light rail from Portland to Vancouver, and reconstruct five major highway interchanges when and if funding is secured.

“We would like to stop (the CRC),” said Smarter Bridge chairman Ron Buel. “It is not fundable or doable.”

Approximately 36 guests – including elected officials, representatives of labor and trucking, CRC supporters, and residents of potentially impacted neighborhoods – gathered at the Clark County Service Building before embarking on the bus, train, and light rail tour covering the CRC project impact area, as well as sites where alternative bridge and rail lines could be located.

Tour showcases affordable, sensible alternatives to the CRC

Smarter Bridge Committee representatives presented four different alternative plans they said made more sense and would cost less than the CRC’s current plan. Each alternative calls for construction of at least one additional alternative bridge while preserving the historic Interstate Bridge spans.

The group’s most immediate goal is to raise enough awareness to halt the CRC before it starts acquiring property and creating a footprint.

“They have a set idea in mind,” said Brad Perkins, who represents an organization promoting the construction of a high-speed commuter rail line. “They pay consultants to sell it. We’re trying to get past the sales job.”

COUV.COM will publish a full article and video of Saturday’s event later this week.

Video shot and edited by Jordan Thompson

* 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.)

See our continuing coverage of the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project.

Do you have information to share on the CRC? To respond anonymously call 260-816-1426. To allow your comments to be used on COUV.COM call 260-816-1429.