Mayor Leavitt’s Memorial Day Weekend Snow Job

by lewwaters

Leave it to Tim Leavitt, unfortunately still the mayor of Vancouver, Washington, to make another plea for the deep dark hole sucking up money as fast it can Columbia River Project instead of saying something relevant to thank all of those have died defending our country, even though that is why we have the three-day weekend.

Leavitt, who readily lied through his teeth in order to be elected as Mayor in 2009 has an Op-Ed appearing in the Sunday, May 27, 2012 Columbian, Local View: Crumbling roads, bridges show why Congress must act where he attempts to paint a picture of the aging, yet still sound Interstate Bridge Structure as “crumbling” and “structurally deficient,” urging Congress to come up with the estimated $4 Billion to start their replacement.

We hear the usual words like “negatively affecting our region’s economy and livability” and “Significant safety and congestion problems” destined to only get worse. We hear all of the usual canards the CRC and supporters use to force this project on the citizens of Clark County, while continuing to block any efforts at allowing citizens in the county to voice whether or not they want it through a vote.

What we don’t hear is that real and only reason this project even exists is to force Portland, Oregon’s financially ailing light rail into our community, as was shown in an Oregon Supreme Court Ruling earlier this year.

Neither Leavitt, the Columbian nor any of the supporters of the CRC ever mention that little revelation, just the usual fearmongering in an attempt to fool citizens into we really need this boondoggle.

Even though Leavitt’s appeal is aimed at congress, does he not realize that the money they have is first confiscated from us also, as well as the tax increases he would like, tolls to cross the bridge even before construction begins and that the federal government, America is over $15 Trillion in debt already?

Nobody has the money to fund this pie in the sky boondoggle that has already sucked up over $150 Million in “studies” without even a shovel of dirt being turned in over a decade.

Leavitt does not address the impact on downtown businesses that will be under the shadow of this eight story monstrosity during the 8 to 10 years it will take to build it, nor does he address the increased congestion through the corridor during the years of construction, with only the I-205 Bridge for any relief.

Not surprising is seeing 49th Legislative District Representative Jim ‘da candyman’ Moeller chime in, supporting Leavitt’s appeal to rip off citizens. Moeller, who has never met a tax or spending increase he doesn’t like, said, “An individual leads through service. Part of that service is to explain the options and present the solutions to the voters including asking for the action of other elected officials. It’s time for congress to act and reauthorize a surface transportation bill. It’s time for Washington and Oregon to act including asking voters for funds for transportation projects. And it’s time for all of us to move forward.”

If you note, “honesty” merits no mention. If honesty had any part in this, Leavitt and Moeller would stop the fearmongering over the structures and admit the truth, they are still structurally sound and the only reason for replacing them is to run Portland’s light rail into Clark County, giving Oregon the ability to take even more of our money than they already do, giving nothing back to our community but headaches.

Council member Larry Smith, a man I have come to respect for his work supporting Veterans added, “this is an American issue not a political one. We all need to focus.”

Recovering from the deep recession and 4th year in a row Clark County has seen double digit unemployment is a focus.

We that oppose this project as currently designed have focused for several years. It is time that our elected Representatives focused more on the citizens who will be stuck with the albatross of the project for generations to focus, on us, not fattening the wallets of those who push light rail.

If they were to focus, maybe they would see that third bridge must be constructed prior to replacing the Interstate Bridge. If for no other reason than to alleviate the increase in congestion that will be ongoing for several years.

Focusing would also allow the citizens throughout the county that will be stuck paying for this over expensive project if we even wish to.

Focusing would also have project managers seriously looking at the several alternatives that are actually affordable.

In case our so called leaders already have forgotten, Washington State just went through a nightmare of legislative special sessions to close an over $1 Billion budget gap with projections of next year’s budget gap approaching $2 Billion.

Of course, Moeller’s “focus” will be robbing taxpayers blind, even more than we already are, evidenced in his comment on “asking voters for funds.” Whether o not you feed your family is not as important to the likes of Leavitt and Moeller as is paying off special interest Fatcats who keep them in office with generous donations.

It is obvious that these two must go, they must be voted out next election.

Leavitt will not be up for reelection until 2013, but Moeller is running this year. His announced opponent, Carolyn Crain rightfully sees it for what it is, “Talk about incompetence! The ultimate example of the manifestation of crony capitalism at the cost of local taxpayers.”

We can ill afford to fall further prey to Portland, Oregon and continue placing their interest above the efforts of struggling Clark County taxpayers to recover from this elongated recession politicians have kept us in.

We need to elect new people to represent us, people that will actually listen to us and who are really concerned for our plight.

The CRC should be halted and a full investigation launched. The whole project smacks of corruption and collusion between two states to rip-off citizens of one county. If warranted, all parties should be prosecuted.

Above all, we need to begin voting these con-men out of office.

19 Comments to “Mayor Leavitt’s Memorial Day Weekend Snow Job”

  1. Precisely. Like Don Wagner said while Region 6 WADOT Director:

    “…during a 3 hour stretch of southbound morning commute, traffic would crawl along at 10mph or slower across the replacement bridge through Hayden Island and portions of north Portland.”


    “We have a bridge that’s functioning, maybe not as good as we would like, but it’s there, it’s safe, it’s open, the freeway’s moving,”

    He left out that it’s also paid for. But then, neither Leave-it nor Brancaccio want to talk about these “inconvenient truths.”

  2. While I agree with you that the light rail option should be a non-starter and that there seems to be an unusual amount of potential for corruption here, I think the general tone of your article is unnecessarily over the top.

    The impact of the downtown businesses will be minimal, as the bulk of construction will be performed before the new bridge is ever tied into the existing road network. Based on the traffic handling that was done to widen the southbound delta park section a couple of years back, traffic management in the construction zone will be minimally invasive. The eight story monstrosity will be shorter than the existing drawbridge towers.

    The bridge is a major piece of the federal highway system. Much of the cost will not be borne on the backs of local taxpayers.

    My household makes more than twenty trips a week over that bridge. The traffic jam on any given day is at least five miles long on weekday afternoons, due to the limited (less than 100 yards) sight distance mid-span on the bridge. Three times in the last week I’ve been caught in bridge lifts. All in all, I’d say the current bridge costs me upwards of four hours of time on any given week. Multiply that by the thousands of cars that sit in traffic for a half hour every day trying to get northbound and you have significant costs in human man-hours, gas, pollution, etc.

    If you live and work on this side of the river, you can pretend there isn’t a problem, but those of us who use that bridge all agree, the current bridge needs to be replaced. The new bridge doesn’t need light rail, doesn’t need a scenic pedestrian accommodation, and doesn’t need to be a work of art. It just needs to be high enough for river traffic and wide enough to put a lot of cars across it at highway speeds.

  3. Here is my favorite, the current Washington state governor pleading.. (and I wonder why it never was reported in a SINGLE pacific northwest news source. It has to come from Sacramento, CA Bee?

  4. So, Sean… you’re willing to pay in excess of $1300 a year with ever-increasing tolls (Think in terms of 50 cents to a dollar per year if the Hood Canal and Tacoma Narrows Bridges are any gage) when the result will be NO congestion relief?

    You do understand that this multi-billion dollar waste is, start to finish, nothing BUT a light rail project? Or that EFFECTIVE congestion relief would require a 3rd and 4th Bridge in other locations, one west of downtown and one east of the 205?

    If anything, Lew’s opposition is understated. When a crime is being committed against me, whether a gradual theft or an armed robbery, I tend to get a little excited.

    In this case, Leave-it and company are engaging in scams that would make Al Capone blush.

    There is precisely ZERO justification for this massive, systemic rip off. It will accomplish nothing except to blow a $100,000,000 per year (to start) hole in our local economy with that much disposable income vaporizing… income that families and small business depend on to live, gong to a project that will accomplish nothing except to enrich the favored few.

    I will be the first to admit that there’s a “problem.” And then, I’ll be the first to point out that nothing in this waste of $10 billion or more will solve it.

  5. And Sean, did you catch Wagner’s take on all of this? Here, let me help you:

    “…during a 3 hour stretch of southbound morning commute, traffic would crawl along at 10mph or slower across the replacement bridge through Hayden Island and portions of north Portland.”

    Odd, isn’t it?

    You, apparently, seem to think that we all should pay because you get caught up in a few bridge lifts that don’t cost you a thing… except time…. when, according to Wagner, you’ll get caught up in traffic jams AFTER this crap pile is built and THEN get to pay for it AND lost the “time” you seem to be so worried about.

    There’s something wrong with a thought process that results in believing that, somehow, the first scenario is bad… but the second scenario is OK to better.

  6. Sean, you say “Much of the cost will not be borne on the backs of local taxpayers.”

    How you arrive at that escapes me as every single dime government has, all levels, comes from the pockets of taxpayers, even us locals. As proposed, the feds are only scheduled to cover one third of the project and given the extreme amount of debt we already have, that is questionable. The other two thirds comes from the states, with Washington residents who work in Oregon destined to pay the bulk, even though they already pay Oregon millions in income tax and receive nothing in return.

    The bridge is planned to be built alongside the existing bridge. That means Hwy 14 and I-5 will be the routes for construction materials, trucks, workers and more. That will increase congestion for the corridor. Along with that will come decreased access downtown, some standing businesses closed to make way for “free” parking garages.

    I traveled daily to Oregon for work before there was a 205 Bridge, so I realize there is a problem there. It’s been there for a very long time. 205 alleviated it a little, showing the real answer is more bridges across the river, not replacing a perfectly good one so as to ram light rail down our throats, whether we want it or not.

    You see, without light rail this whole project would be affordable and more acceptable. We voted it down in the past and now, they will not even ask us, just tell us it is coming, deal with it. So if the tone of my post seems a bit over the top, trust me, it is nowhere near as over the top as my actual thoughts on how these elected “rulers” are treating citizens.

  7. Okay everybody. Good morning! I think I’ll weigh in for a brief moment before going off to the Memorial Service. I find a single piece of evidence which is the common thread and winds itself through this entire boondoggle is almost entirely forgotten or at least never spoken. The fact is that Oregon needs help paying for their incredible, costly, slow train and Oregon has poorly planned their own portion of the I-5 freeway therefore they cannot relieve conjestion without seriously altering the whole thing for most of the way through a very high density fully developed inner section of the city running along the east side of the Willamette river. The only solution for Oregon is for us to BUY their train. Do we need it? NO! See METRO has full control and authority of OUR SW Washington transit system and growth management, land use, parks system, and job creations. METRO! An Oregon based governmental agency that is not elected but appointed and not by us. They have no incentive to have industrial blue collar jobs here in Vancouver since they cannot collect Oregon income tax on those jobs. The long range plan is for Vancouver to be the sleepy little bedroom community for Portland. When we work over there we pay their taxes and because we are taxed so highly already we will shop over there saving ourselves the sales taxes and boosting the income tax on businesses revenue received by Oregon’s government. This in turn causes further un-employment right here in sleepy town since stores will close! It also causes one more thing of note. We have to be subsidized by Olympia in order to pay for our roads and schools and police and fire services as well as a whole host of other things. This therefore impacts our entire state! We are not Oregonians. The fact that our legislature and other elected officials have not taken a stand to assure the entire state would be fiscally solvent at the same time fully in control of our own lands, capable of promoting our own job growth plans for the healthy success of our families is flat appalling! Lew is right about this, “da candy man” who spends our time and money on his own agenda and then files suit against ALL the people in this state no matter which political party you prefer has to go. We have to have someone who is able to see the bigger picture and care about our community thus willing to protect our interest and sovereign rights.

  8. Sean, you’ve made some points which need to be cleared up. You stated “Much of the cost will not be borne on the backs of local taxpayers.” One question for you here. Just how much is that “Much of the cost?” You are aware that Washington State and Oregon State must come up with 2/3rds of the total cost, right??? You are aware that interest will be tacked on the initial cost, running it far above the originally-forecast price tag, right??? You are also aware that those of us who live in Washington and travel to Oregon to work or vice versa are the ones who will be immediately affected by the taxation, the fees and the proposed tolls, right??? You ARE also aware that the folks who live and commute will also be paying FEDERAL taxes on their paychecks, right??? You ARE also aware that every time we fuel our tanks, we’re paying taxes to fund highway projects, right??? And Finally, you ARE aware that even the people who do not cross the bridge but purchase any taxable item in Vancouver will inevitably be paying for maintenance and operations for the light rail segment of the bridge if C-Tran gets their way again, right???

    So Sean…I throw caution in the wind to you to make sure you do your homework when studying the reasoning behind the project as well as studying why so many of us oppose the current $10 billion dollar fiasco being held over the heads of every single individual who resides in Clark County. I admit I agree with you that a replacement bridge may be necessary some day…but right now, I do not see that urgent need. And regarding those THREE BRIDGE LIFTS you stated you were stuck in…was it possibly during their “shutdowns” for maintenance or had you traveled through during the wee dawn hours before rush hour? I’ve traveled through there many times during rush hour (just last week in fact), in the carpool lane headed northbound with another person and we flew through the corridor with no issues. Of course, where Marine Drive is…you know, the place where Oregon abruptly stopped the HOV lane in an area of extreme congestion with multiple on ramps…it was a mess. Gee…I wonder who thought that idea up to put a false sense of urgent need for a new bridge???

    Makes you wonder, doesn’t it!

  9. Okay, it was more than one question.

  10. Okay folks, I hope I don’t set off a flurry of terse remarks, but seriously…if they had never stopped tolling the I-5 Bridge and most likely by now be paying $1 or even $2 in each direction…we wouldn’t even remotely be worried about the funding to replace at least the span built in the early part of the 20th century. Their idea now…stinks worse than sewage in the heat of the summer.

    Just goes to show the poor planning…much like SR 500. They should’ve built SR 500 right the first time rather than spending big bucks to fix the poor design they began with. The errors in design in Oregon are obvious with too many ramps being the number one culprit. Secondly…abruptly stopping the HOV lane, causing massive lane changes at Marine Drive. It should have been extended into Vancouver past SR 500. But again…that’s my opinion.

  11. mass trqansit is s atot joke hrta solvese absolutely nothing

  12. Mass transit isa total joke

  13. Goldie & Sean – Lets be clear here, if the locals have to match 1/3, the state 1/3 and the feds 1/3. which by the way is in serious DOUBT and is only to fulfill $700 million or so for light rail PLUS $400million for the roadbed construction. For me that runs to about $1.2 or so billion. And columbia river crossing management office is expecting the states to step up to cover their verbal agreement of $450million each plus another 1 or 2 billion dollar in local variable rated tolls to cover the local portion? Plus a few million dollars a year cash squirts to operate the Light Rail and Bus Rapid Transit portions of the system OVER the new bridge.

    But you honestly understand what I am seeing? I’m seeing a lot of games of political hot potato on the financial portion of this bridge. Instead of stepping up and making the commitment, people are simply just finger pointing and passing the buck down the road. What angers me MOST is the financial portion was put to the very END of this process. IT should have been better refined and done with hard commitments by now at 10+ years into this current process.

    Ultimately and what has well been said, it is the taxpayers of Washington who will mostly or ultimately, will fulfill or bear the cost of the requirements of this bridge…..

  14. Yes, Jeremy…consolidating most of the revenue which would be predominantly generated by the locals; hardly the rest of the Washingtonians. Heck, those coming from a distance will choose the I-205 Bridge in attempts to avoid the obvious gridlock through the squeeze chute, AKA the Rose Garden area.

    Ohhh…if the local powers that be would only concentrate on improving the jobs situation in Clark County rather than providing that little extra burden…that push for companies already feeling the crunch to head outta town to more affordable locales instead!!! I honestly wish I could understand the mindset of those in leadership around here, but the utilization of lack of common sense is never understandable as far as I’m concerned.

  15. Carolyn Crain,

    Could you explain what you mean by “METRO has full control and authority of OUR SW Washington transit system and growth management”? Is not SW Washington RTC responsible for Clark County transit development? Also, you state that Metro is a “governmental agency not elected but appointed”, yet their own website states “Metro is the only regional government agency in the U.S. whose governing body is directly elected by the region’s voters.”

  16. Craig – I can tell you that SWRTC does general and future transportation planning but they are NOT the implementers and final word on transit in Clark County. The Ctran board is the final word on the implementation of whatever is decided by its board, which usually means the same faces AS the SWRTC…

  17. The “mindset of those in lewadership aroun hrere is definitely “Eliist”Goldie.

  18. Elitist pukes run this county

  19. Jack – Did you forget to put on your dictionary based browser extension? I don’t think I understand your comment….

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