Washington Transportation Commission Meets In Vancouver

by lewwaters

Read the Columbian’s account of the first meeting here

More will follow later, in the mean time, make CRC and light rail comments here.

From the rude treatment of Tiffany Couch and others we hear “We’re not the agency you should talk to,” from chairman Dick Ford.

We have heard similar comments from every agency or governmental group we have turned to.

All claim it is up to the legislatures of Oregon and Washington who will be voting on it, not the people getting another vote.

The question I now have, if no one but the legislatures have any responsibility in this boondoggle, why has over $140 M been spent on something the legislature has not yet approved?

UPDATE:Commission chair Dick Ford of King County said Tuesday’s tour “absolutely” convinced him of the need for the CRC, which will replace the Interstate Bridge, bring light rail to downtown Vancouver and rebuild the freeway on both sides of the river. Ford said he’s particularly sold on the project’s light rail component, which he said would greatly improve the efficiency of the regional system.”

I thought they weren’t the agency to address that? Washington State Transportation Commission Panel wraps up visit with a tour of bridge State advisers see CRC’s plans as ‘most reasonable solution’

What’s that old saying? Uh, the fix is in?

17 Comments to “Washington Transportation Commission Meets In Vancouver”

  1. Gee. Isn’t it “amazing” that there is all of this corruption concerning the bridge project and none of these moron bureaucrats want to see it? I wonder if the bastards all have earplugs in and blinders on?

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  2. You miss the key point of government projects – it is not corruption in the eyes of the political class, it is merely rewarding their cronies by shoveling great quantities of money to them.

    If the project improves the lives of the average citizen, that is just collateral benefit.

    Thanks
    JK

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  3. “We’re the wrong people to talk to,” Ford said after the meeting. “This is going to be decided by the legislatures of the two states and their governors.”

    *SNIP*

    Residents raised familiar objections to the project’s design, its cost, and what they felt is a lack of transparency and public involvement in the planning process. The CRC’s final environmental impact statement was approved by local agencies earlier this year, and is awaiting federal approval.

    **SCHNIPP**

    And therein lies the problem. All of those “local agencies” swear up and down that they are the wrong people to talk to about this as well. Is there a single politician in the State of Washington who will take responsibility for this?? Who is the right guy to talk to??

    The last time I checked, I couldn’t get an audience with the Governor if I tried, and there isn’t a single State Legislator that I am aware of that will admit knowing anywhere near what I know about this project. I didn’t see any of them at any of the meetings or public presentations the CRC put on for this, and judging by some of the comments I’ve heard about it many local politicos are either deliberately obfuscating or just plain stupid.

    Go try to ask anyone on Vancouver City Council what responsibility they hold for the CRC, and they won’t admit to knowing anything about it at all, even though they approved the “Locally Preferred Alternative” years ago, and it is that decision (and others) that are still driving this. They want to hear comments about this project even less than the Transportation people do.

    There was no public vote to decide the LPA, even in the face of massive opposition, and we have been told ever since that this matter is completely out of the hands of City Council. I don’t know of a single State legislator who has taken a firm stand on anything to do with the CRC, with the exception of Don Benton who has endorsed the 3rd Bridge concept that leaves the existing bridges in place and builds a new bridge from the Port of Vancouver across Sauvie’s Island to connect with Oregon SR 30.

    The local Ruling Class who are supposedly in charge of this fiasco continue to play “hide the baloney” with the CRC, and the people who are losing this game are the taxpayers, who are about to get the CRCP’s Loot Rail shoved so far up where the sun don’t shine, all you’ll be able to taste is axle grease.

    BOHICA

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  4. It boggles me how this Occupy Anything But a Bar of Soap crowd is given so much hearing and hard working taxpayers remain ignored and demeaned.

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  5. Below are comments from a recent post by John Charles of Cascade Policy Institute in Oregon that warn about the exorbitant cost of light rail .

    “According to TriMet’s own audits and monthly performance reports, the following trends have emerged:

    *Between March of 2004 and March of 2011, vehicle miles of monthly transit service dropped by 12.2%.

    *Yet during that same period, TriMet’s annual “all-funds” budget went UP by 103.4% (from $494 million to $1.04 billion). Annual payroll tax money went up by 34% and passenger fare revenue went up by 75%.

    Question: where did all the money go if service has been declining?

    Answer: Employee compensation and new trains.

    Average compensation cost per full-time equivalent employee went up from $62,000 in 2001 to $141,000 in 2010-11. Post-employment health care liability is now up to $816 million, all unfunded.

    Milwaukie LR will cost $205 million per mile just to build and the average subsidy required for each trip on WES is $19.75 (up from $17.97 on opening day 2009). ”
    *************************************************************************
    In Seattle, the cost of light rail is estimated at $237 million per mile to build. (up from $54 million/mile in 1998).

    Questions: Is light rail on a bridge across the Columbia to extend Tri-Met in the best interest of Clark County?
    How accurate are the projections by the CRC about population and transit ridership made just 5 years ago?
    What are true figures today on transit use and population?
    Is there a more cost effective means to move both commerce and passengers?

    Some local officials have stated light rail is a want, not a need.
    Previous votes in Clark County against light rail indicate LR is not a want for many. The promised light rail vote planned for Nov. 2011 was delayed, and if a vote is held, it may be in a gerrymandered sub-district.
    Question: Will a county-wide vote on LR be held?

    Question: Since the state and federal governments are facing the highest deficits ever, and local government is struggling to meet basic services,
    with continued high unemployment and foreclosures, where would funding for LR come from?

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  6. Some very good observations by Bob Koski and Margaret Tweet. All I can come up with after observing the goings-on for the past several years, is that the fix is in. They will all continue to deny responsibility for decisions that are made, nor acknowledge any questionable activities by those invoved. The massive amount of money so far invested with out any real accounting or accountability, the deception regarding Prop 1…these people act like the Three “Wise” Monkees, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

    I half expect them to next say “Bridge? What bridge?”

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  7. Lew, the CRC have not addressed traffic staging during constuction. They have not addressed how badly the years of construction on I-5 will affect airport travel! Could you imagine how terrible traffic will be from Longview to PDX and from Clackamas to PDX?!? One or two accidents along the route could cost many travelers to miss thier flights or be late to work!

    What needs to happen before the I-5 could be rebuilt is that we build another bridge, preferably 192nd, to accomodate traffic! Having just one bridge for citizens to cross over the Columbia River for work or travel is absolutely ridicules! My husband works in Portland —for over 30 years! He deals with the horrible traffic every morning. If he leaves 5 minutes later than normal in the morning, he is STUCK on Highway 14 trying to get onto I-5. This is all without construction on I-5! The problem with the CRC project is that greedy developers and special interest groups have their stakes in that I-5 cooridor.

    As for Oregon putting money into this project, I was told by several of their legislators that Washington was crazy to think that Oregon would contribute to Washington’s light rail project. One guy told me that they cannot keep up with thier own state’s transportation project let along doing it for Vancouver.It would be interesting to see what happens.

    Lew, for almost two years straight, I have been shouting through the rooftop, writing, calling, and even running for office to try to bring light to this boondoggle. Sadly, should this project go through, those who voted for the ‘same ol; same ol’, and those who didn’t vote this election, they will be the ones crying foul the loudest….

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  8. Below are all of the comments from the Jeanne Harris thread.

    Jeremy Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm edit

    Anyone go to the Washington State Transportation commission meeting over at the Port of Vancouver? They were discussing local projects…..

    Tiffany LeMay Couch Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm edit

    Jeremy, Yes I did. And I was not well received. I only stayed for about 10 minutes – enouigh time to listen to two other testify and myself. I introduced myself, indicated that I thought my role should have been easy, but in the last 8 months I had found various transaction that were “of concern”. (LIterally the only sentence I spoke of related to my findings) And that I hoped they would meet with me so that I could clearly convey the information I had.The chairman lit into me and accused me of accusing the CRC folks of committing fraud. I clearly indicated that I was not doing that. That I only had questions. He interrupted again and told me that I needed to go to the AGs office (I have) or the State Auditor’s office (I have) and that he in no way would meet with me. I thanked him for his comments. And I further indicated that I wasw not the only expert with serious concerns. There were land use, NEPA process, bridge design, and financing experts who had deep concerns as well and I urged them to do more homework. I smiled, looked everyone in the eye and thanked them for their time. It was unbelievable.

    lewwaters Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm edit

    Tiffany, by chance, was any of that caught on tape?

    Personally, I’d like to see a federal DOJ investigation of this mess.

    Bob Koski Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm edit

    Who chaired this meeting?? It was at the Port, but was one of the Port Commissioners conducting that meeting?? I’ve never heard of that kind of behavior at a Port meeting of any kind, ever.

    Sounds like another “gavel down” moment Lew. Check the Port’s website to see if they have video of this. CVTV has been supporting their meetings for years, and they recently finished installing a new video and recording system.

    lewwaters Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm edit

    According to the C, Bob, Dick Ford chaired it.

    It does seem to be down at the Port and I see no mention of how Tiffany was treated.

    CVTV has nothing up yet on it that I see.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/nov/14/state-transportation-commission-begins-day-long-me/

    Jeremy Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm edit

    Lew, you have to remember that it takes up to 24 to 36 hours for them to record, encode and post it on the website UNLESS there was a political decision to NOT have CVTV record it…

    Since this was not a port of vancouver event from my research but a Washington state Transportation Commission event but used port and city of Vancouver facilities, cvtv would be charging them to record it. They no longer do free recording of stuff, so I am also going to look over at TVW and see if they might have some thing.

    CVTV has a in-kind rapport, so if TVW may have it, so would they.

    Tiffany LeMay Couch Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm edit

    It was not a Port meeting. It was the Washington State Transportation Commission. They are appointed officials from around the State. Transporation Secretary Hammond was there. As were all of these people’s staff. My testimony lasted less than three minutes. I do not know if anyone taped it.

    Tiffany LeMay Couch Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm edit

    Lew, thanks for the link! I thought it’d be on the front page, so assumed it wasn’t updated. Eric Florip got the critical part of the exchange exactly right – I’m pleased that he reports the facts. It sounds like the chairman told other people to take a hike, too. So I don’t feel so all alone! 🙂

    lewwaters Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm edit

    Some interesting comments from Eric on twitter https://twitter.com/#!/col_enviro

    col_enviro Eric Florip
    Transportation commission gets an earful from CRC opponents. Chairman Dick Ford cuts in: “We’re the wrong people to talk to.”

    col_enviro Eric Florip
    #VanWa councilor Burkman calls Prop. 1 and council elections a “referendum” showing support for transit and those who have favored it.

    col_enviro Eric Florip
    Commissioner from Mason Co. asks: isn’t there opposition to light rail in #vanwa? Thayer Rorabaugh: yes, some, 2012 vote “huge challenge.”

    See also http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/nov/14/state-transportation-commission-begins-day-long-me/

    Jeremy Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm edit

    Lew, should there be a new post on the blog, so we don’t steal away special attention from Jeanne Harris in all her glory and mighty-ness?

    There is always enough pleasure to find out greater details of this subject.

    I just wanted to let people know that the Transportation Commission will again be meeting tomorrow morning at 9am? til 11 possibly? for a short update on the CRC project and some other finery. They will be meeting at the city of Vancouver Hall right by Esther Short Park.

    source: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/news/2011/2011_1107_WSTCToMeetinVancouver.htm

    lewwaters Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm edit

    Done Jeremy, leave comments at https://lewwaters.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/washington-transportation-commission-meets-in-vancouver/

    I’ll post more in the days ahead.

    Jeremy Says:
    November 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm edit

    thanks. 🙂

    Jack Says:
    November 15, 2011 at 12:56 am edit

    You wonder what it’s going to take to get these bureaucrat morons to acknowledge that there is plenty of factual opposition to the CRC project?

    I doubt that the bastards ever will. They’re too corrupt.

    Bob Koski Says:
    November 15, 2011 at 5:43 am edit

    OK, after reading the story on this its clear the Port had nothing to do with this, and I’m very glad about that one.

    However, see my comments on the new thread Lew put up about this “We’re the wrong people to talk to” business….

    Jack Says:
    November 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm edit

    It reminds me of a game with a pea and three walnut shells, Bob.

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  9. Jack Burkman is owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation. He has no credibility as he has accepted their cash in the past. The election of Turlay is a “referendum”, Jack??

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  10. You know, “we’re the wrong people to talk to” sounds a lot like Jack Burkman saying “there’s a law telling us how we have to spend that money” when it comes to the waterfront park project.

    Government makes the laws and spends the money, but government also does it’s damndest to avoid being accountable to the citizenry, even to the point of outright lying.

    No matter what the question is, nobody will ever admit responsibility and no one will ever admit accountability.

    What a bunch of sneaky, lying, disgusting bastards.

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  11. If Jack Burkman is reading this: Mr. Burkman, what is the RCW? I am an attorney, I would like to review it.

    Thank you for your time,

    Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.

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  12. As people may not know, there are some new modeling and comments coming from Eric’s twitter feed. You want want to keep up with it.

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  13. Now I do wonder how Tiffany’s meeting with C-tran, Marc and Greg Kimsey went?

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  14. The fix is in. Remember Moeller telling us last year during his re-election campaign that light rail was “baked in the cake.” They all arrogantly believe we cannot stop them. If the legislature is our last resort, we need to redouble our efforts next year to elect those who will oppose the light rail. None of their plans will materialize if they don’t have the money and only the legislature can provide it. I do believe that there are several Republicans from Clark County besides Don Benton who are opposed but each of us should find out from our own representatives where they stand.

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  15. Yes, the fix is IN! With Craig Pridemore running for Auditor and Brian Sonntag retiring next year, who do you think is going to make good and sure the CRC gets through any troubles? If no one knows, the CRC project IS his baby…..

    And now with Craig out of his 49th legislative senatorial place, who is going to fill-in for him when he wins the auditor job?

    Since I do live in the people’s republik of canukistan (aka 49th LD) it probably will be another democrat that runs for his spot. I would not be surprised if Jim Moeller moves right over to the Senate, even though he probably the 3rd or 4th more powerful representative at the state level.

    And with Jim’s great TBD (transportation benefit district) legislation, how do you think its going to be stopped? Do you think Don, Ann Rivers and many others of a very small majority are going to be able to get the votes to KILL the crc? Then they have to get the legislation passed the state senate and a governor who has put a hell of a lot of her local political capital into that project. Do you think she would sign any legislation cutting down this project??

    Have you heard the response that Don, Ed Orcutt got from the letter they sent to the Feds about their concerns? (cleaned up version was not nice….)

    Honestly and with feeling from the YEARS I wasted keeping up-to-date on that project, unless the state attorney general find for AND the auditor says some thing directed at Tiffany Couch’s research that is right now being dealt with up in Olympia. I don’t think or feel that is much left one can do. Even a lawsuit is a real waste of money that is being done in Oregon at several levels against two states and federal government who have deeper pockets……

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  16. I should restate in my comments, I meant the state house of representative republicans are in a very SMALL minority from my comments above…

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  17. One comment to dem2gop, Tim Eyman tried to stop them and he nearly failed. I don’t see any options left to stop that freight train starting construction in 2013 or so.

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