Identity Vancouver Plan C:

by lewwaters


By Professor Robert Dean

Tap! Tap!

Scott H: Meeting will come to order! Welcome to the fourth inaugural meeting of Identity Vancouver. Tonight, we will look for alternative financing of the replacement of the I-5 bridge and light rail platform to Portland.

Tom M: Alternative financing? I thought the feds, Federal Transit Administration and Highway Administration, were going to pay a third, WSDOT and ODOT would pay a third, and the local community, Vancouver commuters who work in Portland, would pay a third. What other options are there?

Scott H: Not many. Trouble is, WSDOT and ODOT are maxed out on their bonding capacity and the feds are $15 trillion in debt. Now that the Record of Decision has been issued the next thing holding up the whole project is the Federal Transit Administration has to release about $850 million in funds for light rail. They won’t release that money unless CTRAN votes to fund maintenance and operation of light rail. That puts the CTRAN vote directly in the critical path.

Jack B: If the vote fails and the feds and states won’t fund light rail, that leaves Plan B, Vancouver commuters, tolls – we have to find a way to leverage that.

Scott H: I’m afraid so. Trouble is, Mayor Leavitt has been promising to find a way to lower tolls. Where does that leave us?

Tim L: Don’t blame me for this mess. Anyhow, what makes you think I haven’t?

Steve S: Your track record.

Marc B: Ha! Ha! Ha!

Tim L: Ah yes! The scoffers!

Scott H: Tim, are you saying there is a solution?

Tim L: Maybe. But you have to all promise to keep it under your hats.

Lou B: Strictly off the record.

Steve S: Wait a minute. As of right now, our intrepid congresswoman is withholding the $1.5 billion fed share until we have a vote on maintenance of the light rail. Furthermore, the Oregon Treasurer is withholding ODOT funds until the FTA releases its funds. This whole Columbia River Crossing project hinges on that one CTRAN vote for maintenance and operation of light rail. You and I both know we can’t let that vote happen because Clark County taxpayers are just as maxed out as the rest of the world. Why would they vote for going another $1.5 billion into debt for the local contribution? We can’t even come up with $1.5 billion in the whole state of Washington to balance the state budget let alone find $1.5 billion principal on the bonds, plus maintenance and operation of the light rail, plus interest, plus financing costs, plus collection costs, plus cost overruns to a total of near $8 billion, here in Clark County!

Tim L: Calm down! Calm down! Here, breathe into this paper bag.

Steve S: Thanks, Tim. Even so, I went out on a limb with you by attacking Jaime on the CTRAN vote.

Tim L: I know, and I appreciate that Steve, I really do. Even though it backfired I still think it was worth a try.

Scott H: So what’s the solution?

Tim L: OK, this does not leave this room – right?

All: Right! Oh sure! Yep!

Tim L: As you may know, City Manager, Eric H and I have been away occasionally during the holidays. Well, wait till I tell you where we’ve been.

Andrea D: Where?

Tim L: Down in San Francisco visiting Mike!

Marissa H: Mike Bloomberg? Mayor of New York?

Jim M: I’m jealous!

Stephanie R: Sigh!!

Tim L: Strictly city business.

Andrea D: You kept your shirt on -right?

Stephanie R: Sigh!

Tim L: Oh, yes.

Andrea D: What tie did you wear?

Tim L: I rented a new suit. Anyhow, this is off the record, remember.

Marissa H: Blogs, too?

Tim L: Blogs, too. Oh, OK, you can talk about what I wore, but that’s it.

Marissa H: No problem.

Stephanie R: Sigh!

Tim L: Back to the point of what I’m trying to say, here. Some nice fellows in dark suits came around and made us a business proposition we couldn’t refuse. They told Eric and me to be in San Francisco New Years Eve and meet with my old friend, Mike, up at his penthouse. It seems his news service picked up on the tiff we had with Jaime over the vote and he wanted to offer us a way out. This is how it went:

Mike B: Tim! Good to see you again! How’s skiing up at Whistler this season?

Tim L: Uh, fine I guess. I haven’t really looked it up on the internet. This is my City Manager,
Eric H.

Eric H: We’re from Vancouver, WA.

Mike B: Ah! This is my good friend, Donald. Donald has plans to be head honcho in Washington himself some day. He has something he wants to share with you about the mess you have going up there with the Columbia River Crossing project.

Tim L: Great!

Mike B: No problem. You know, we had similar problems in New York with the Alexander Hamilton Bridge and here in San Francisco with the new Bay Bridge. Even though we control all the engineering companies that came up with the extravagant designs and lowball costs and even though we control the media and the politicians we need to promote the projects so that the companies we control can make a killing building them; the one fly in the ointment is that most of the costs are usually borne by the federal government.

Tim L: But that’s a good thing – isn’t it?

Donald T: Ordinarily, yes. But lately the feds have run out of money, too. You might not realize it, but our biggest cash cow is the local contribution. Bonds, tolls, cost overruns, it’s all money in our pockets.

Mike B: If the feds don’t contribute the project doesn’t get built and we lose a golden opportunity to make $billions.

Tim L: And we lose a golden opportunity to get light rail.

Mike B: Exactly!

Mike B: Here’s what you do. Lock the feds out – you don’t need them.

Tim L: You mean tell Jaime Herrera Beutler to go fly a kite?

Mike B: You don’t need them.

Tim L: But I already told Jaime if the feds don’t kick in the $1.5 billion to build light rail we’d have to take it out of the hides of the citizens with higher tolls. She just made me look bad because I had previously always said I’d find a way to make tolls less, not more.

Donald T: Plan C – build the bridge and tollway in China. Build it in Shanghai with Chinese labor and ship it across the Pacific in segments. The only real cost is the US labor to assemble it on site.

Eric H: You know what, Tim? This might work.

Tim L: And that’s the way it happened. What do you think?

Steve S: What about the carbon footprint?

Eric H: We would demolish the old historic bridges and tear up the pavement and ship all the materials over to Shanghai to be recycled into the new bridge and tollway – 100% sustainability. And besides, any CO2 produced would be in a third world country and that doesn’t count according to international protocols.

Jim M: What about union jobs? Workers in Shanghai only make $0.70 an hour and work 60 hour weeks with no overtime. How can we compete with that?

Tim L: Come off it, Jim. You and I both know very few of the promised 1,900 yearly jobs were going to be local.

Lou B: Careful! There are reporters present.

Andrea D: What color tie did Mike wear?

Stephanie R: Sigh!

Tim L: Oops! Sorry. Actually, Jim, all the bridge segments will be loaded and unloaded at the Port of Vancouver’s old Alcoa site. This will be a six and a half year boon to the longshoremen.

Jim M: Works for me.

Eric H: Since there will be no federal or state funds involved, we get out of the Buy America Act, prevailing wage, everything. Instead of $3.6 billion, the project will only be $2 billion. No federal or state contribution – all local.

Tim L: Sure, the tolls will have to increase, but it will be worth it to get light rail. And, the best part, we won’t have to vote!

6 Comments to “Identity Vancouver Plan C:”

  1. Keep up the great work, Professor! 🙂

  2. Will we ever get to Planned Grade D or F, Professor? Seems that is how far the project is getting to…..

  3. Bonding capacity for the State of Washington is maxed out.

    Click to access 11-1-11_Wolf_CBDL_Presentation.pdf

    The Mayor is looking for ways to fund the light rail platform to Portland that do not require a public vote. All tax increases in Washington require a public vote; tolls do not. As Jack B. says, they have to find a way to leverage that. I could not, even with my superior intellect, think of a way to fund the light rail platform without a public vote. And yet, the good mayor and Nancy B. keep hinting that they are exploring ways to do just that. It was only by way of a fly on the wall, and brilliant deduction, that I learned of the scheme I have related here. I have to hand it to them, it is a devilishly adroit machination.

    Given that it is easier to believe that this crew could not possibly dream up such a plan, I cannot conceive of a Plan D or Plan F. Who knows- maybe they will surprise us again. I promise, I will have my spies out just in case.

  4. IF you read this, they equate the vote to be non-binding, apathy push. So it basically means they don’t have to care HOW things go with it.

  5. That Leavitt is a cool customer – milking, milking the nearly $2 million a month studying. Then, when all seems lost for the CRC, announcing the solution.

  6. Robert, you really right on Tim being one cool customer. To have to deal with the things that he’s put out there and having it come back to haunt him and not give one damn bit about what others are saying?…

Leave a Reply. Comments are moderated. Spam & off topic comments will not be approved at Blog Author's discretion. THIS IS NOT A FREE SPEECH ZONE!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: