Benton Pushes Back on “Oregon Only” CRC/Light Rail (UPDATED)

by lewwaters
Senator Don Benton

Senator Don Benton

Once more we see a prime example of why Senator Don Benton (R. 17th) is maybe the single most hated person in office by the Lazy C, he continues to stand up for the struggling middle class taxpayer over special interests like Identity Clark County and the rest of those hoping to straddle that same struggling middle class family with higher taxes, fees and tolls to pay for an extension of Portland’s financially troubled light rail into Vancouver.

As we know, the CRC was declared dead, but like a monster rising from the ashes, powers that be are trying to breathe new life into it, calling for wasting more tax dollars and forcing the community to accept a bloated transportation project that they refuse to let the community vote on, knowing that it will likely fail, as it did before.

Oregon Governor Kitzhaber is behind pushing what he refers to as an “Oregon Only” approach with Clark County commuters being straddled with the expense through tolls and fares for those forced to ride light rail into jobs in Portland, once C-Tran reduces bus service to meet the requirements of light rail.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt is more than happy to hand taxing authority of Vancouver citizens over to Portland, leaving you with no voice at all, just paying.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee gave the impression he would agree to a transportation package without the CRC on it just days ago, but as we now see reported in the Washington State Wire, that was just another of his many prevarications.

Ignoring that the majority of Clark County voters reject the CRC light rail project, Erik Smith informs us that Inslee “is making the Columbia River Crossing a sticking point once again as he did last session”

The Senate Coalition Majority did not vote on the 10.5¢ per gallon gasoline tax increase Inslee hopes to impose on us, knowing how such an increase will likely do more harm than good, given that even the Lazy C somehow let it slip out that the so called “recovery” they have been boasting of is bogus: Census survey paints grim picture of Clark County’s recovery and Washington’s jobless rate increases for 2nd straight month.

Great time to want to further burden the middle class, isn’t it?

As Governor Kitzhaber calls the Oregon Legislature back into special session, hoping to coerce approval of his “Oregon Only” nightmare to force their light rail on us, Sen. Benton, never one to turn his backs on the struggling middle class, sent each legislator a letter this evening, laying out his opposition and asking them to each give careful consideration instead of just blindly following their Governor.

From that letter we read,

“At the beginning of our 2013 legislative session, Senator Curtis King, co-chair of the Washington State Senate Transportation Committee (I am the vice chairman), sent a letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, stating that our Senate majority would not approve funding for the CRC unless it was redesigned without light rail transit and with enough river clearance to accommodate present and future river traffic.”

“I don’t know what you have been told—but despite two special sessions, the CRC project is dead in Washington because a majority of legislators recognized that the project was fatally flawed and did not have the support of their constituents.”

Most of all, I like the question he poses to Oregon to ask themselves if they become pressured to approve such an “Oregon Only” approach,

Why force tolls and light rail on the citizens of another state?

Why build a very expensive bridge that will barely improve traffic flow and will handicap all future river commerce?

Why replace a bridge that is structurally sound when dozens of bridges in the Portland area are in dire need of replacement or retrofitting?

Who is pushing for this project? Do they have the best interests of Oregonians in mind?

With some Oregon Legislators that supported the bloated project earlier now changing their minds and expressing opposition to it, very relevant points to consider.

The Lazy C is patting themselves on the back tonight for taking some contest awards for their bashings of Sen. Benton and expression of hatred published in the pages of their so-called newspaper, but personally, even though often acting like a bull in a china shop, I am very pleased that Sen. Benton’s efforts are to side with and protect struggling middle class families in Clark County instead of further burdening us with unnecessary expenses of a bloated project that will only line the pockets of wealthy contributors to the Democrat party.

Kudos Don and thank you standing up for us when others won’t.

UPDATE: The Lazy C still follows the blog 😉 Benton tries to influence CRC outcome in Oregon

In a separate Press Release issued by Benton this morning, the Senator says of the current audit of the CRC,

“People want to know where all the money they pay in gas tax and licensing fees and so on is going. Unfortunately the people of Clark County and southwest Washington have seen roughly 170 million dollars disappear into the CRC project, without seeing that many dollars’ worth of value in return.”

“Let’s uncover whether the state was overcharged, or improperly charged for the architectural and engineering services that have comprised about 80 percent of the CRC spending so far. Regardless of whether the findings prove public funds were misused, I’m sure they can help fix what’s broken in the way these mega-projects are managed. That needs to happen before taxpayers are asked to send more money to Olympia.”

6 Comments to “Benton Pushes Back on “Oregon Only” CRC/Light Rail (UPDATED)”

  1. Thanks Don!!!

  2. Thank you for representing us!
    Charlie Stemper

  3. the lazy c is the single most hated newspaper in the northwest

  4. Jeesh Lew – how many logins does that dork use anyway?

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