Friday, March 16, 2012

Feds to “Mediate” CRC Incompetence

Time and again the utter incompetence surrounding the Columbia River Crossing project is revealed to the public. This blog, the Willamette Week, other blogs and even both the Columbian and the Oregonian have run articles exposing the sheer incompetence we still see pertaining to the CRC.

Supporters and those involved with the CRC just continue burying their heads and plowing ahead, though.

Accounting irregularities were poo pooed by an “internal audit.”

Traffic predictions being much less than anticipated were ignored.

The Oregon Supreme Court finding that light rail was the driving force behind the bridge, after years of denials from CRC, was swept under the rug.

And of late, the refusal of the US Coast Guard to grant a permit to the CRC for the bridge was all blamed on the US Coast Guard.

And now, concerning the fact that the bridge is designed with too little clearance to handle river traffic, we read in the Columbian LaHood: CRC height won’t derail plan, “LaHood” being Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

We read that Washington Senator Patty called upon LaHood to intercede between the CRC and the US Coast Guard, Murray saying, “It’s an issue everyone frankly thought was solved years ago.”

It is just another display of incompetence for Murray to claim “everybody thought it was resolved years ago.”

It was revealed by the Columbians Andrea Damewood that Vancouver, Washington mayor Tim Leavitt was fully aware of this “glitch” as she wrote, “Obviously, the CRC staff and the Coast Guard knew what was up, but the CRC had also been quietly informing those “in the know” about the problem. A Vancouver city official was among them. So was Mayor Tim Leavitt.”

A letter dated December 07, 2011 from the US Coast Guard to the CRC, obtained by dispels that notion in the first paragraph. It reads as follows

You may read the letter in its entirety here

Of note in the paragraph is, “Extensive discussions at several levels of our organizations have substantially exhausted the dispute resolution measures set forth in Section IV.B.9 of the 1981 Memorandum of Agreement between the Coast Guard and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As previously stated, the Coast Guard cannot determine if the preferred 95 foot bridge clearance will meet reasonable navigational requirements based on the information provided for review.”

That Ms. Murray now says she thought it was all solved years ago just shows how little attention has been paid to this project, incompetence in other words.

LaHood, who states he is “totally committed” to this boondoggle adds, “We’ll get the Coast Guard, the (Departments of Transportation), and the two states, and make sure everybody’s on the same page to make sure there are no delays.”

Whether or not that means he intends to strong arm the Coast Guard into granting the permit, ignoring the needs of adequate clearance under the bridge for river traffic remains to be seen.

He also described the project additional cost of $150 Million to iron out this incompetent oversight as a “little hiccup that will not stop the $3.5 billion project.”

Nancy Boyd, director of the CRC stated, “we do not expect the permitting process to affect our schedule.”

That this project continues unabated, drowning in incompetence while sucking up Millions of tax dollars before even one shovel of dirt is overturned is a travesty.

Citizen support for the project is decreasing and was never well supported; raising fears in elected officials to deny a vote of the people, obviously fearing it would be denied, again.

Mr. LaHood as well as other federal elected officials should bring this project to a screeching halt and launch a Justice Department investigation into every aspect of it. Prosecutions should follow if warranted.

There is just no way to mediate incompetence.

No comments: