The bureaucrats planning a new bridge across the Columbia River between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington have so far spent $65 million — and by this time next year, they will be up to $100 million — all without accomplishing a thing.
That could have been enough money to replace the Sellwood Bridge, which is in much worse shape, both functionally and structurally — than the Columbia River bridge, but which planners say they don’t have any money for. Maybe that’s because they are spending all their money on planning.
Time was, when a bridge needed replacing, you would replace it. Now it takes a decade or two of consultant reports, environmental impact statements, and public review, with no guarantee that anything will happen at the end of that time. All of this is good for the consultants, planners, and pundits, but not much good for replacing bridges.
The good news, if there is any, is that the Oregonian is actually questioning why the plans call for spending $4 billion on a $1 billion bridge when the agencies in question claim they don’t have any money anyway. As the Antiplanner pointed out more than a year ago, $1 billion is for light rail and $2 billion is for new interchanges for miles north and south of the bridge, and maybe, just maybe, we can do those things later if they are needed at all.