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On April 25, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced their plan to break ground on the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project* in 2013.

14:00 Kitzhaber: “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. 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.”

US Digital spokeswoman Josephine Wentzel recorded the joint press conference held by the governors in Hayden Island.

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For more information on the governors’ announcement read the Governors’ press release and check the The Columbian’s story.

* 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.