The CRC money is just sitting there. Are you gonna take it?

Michael O'Leary

"Without the funds from Washington and adherence to the project budget and schedule, neither state can incur the further costs of delay,” Kitzhaber said. “Consequently, project managers have begun to close down the project.” ~The Columbian, June 29th, 2013

The 90s cult classic "Glengarry Glen Ross" is an immensely quotable film for all us hacks and wonks.

If you've ever knocked a door or dialed a phone for a campaign and you haven't seen this film you are missing out on some outstanding dialog about lists, pitches, and closing the deal.

But so here's what just happened that made me think of David Mamet's Tony and Pulizer winning work:

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has conceded failure in his efforts to secure $450 million dollars from the most recent special session of the Washington Legislature.

That means that the $450 million in bonds authorized this spring by Oregon's Legislature in HB2800 are barred from being issued.

It gets worse. In a bombshell Governor Inslee also disclosed that Washington's failure to pay their share has also cost the project $850 million in federal funds.

So you may be wondering what just happened in Olympia.

The short version is that the Senate majority had a strong hand and they played it tough against the Governor and his entire transportation package including the CRC was thrown under the proverbial bus.

The longer version is that the grand bargain brokered to unite political support for the CRC with increased auto traffic lanes to appease Washington decision makers conjoined to expanding light rail across the Columbia to appease Oregon decision makers has been dying of a thousand cuts, and now not even its strongest supporters can find the political cover they need to railroad the project through.

In any case Governor Kitzhaber says the CRC is dead.

Who are the big winners?

The urban planning, transportation, and economics wonks who never doubted that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Never have so few bike riders made such a big impact on shape of the region's transportation spending.

Local economist Joe Cortright has been bird-dogging the CRC for years, and keeps getting proven right. Want an example of just how right Joe's been? How about the debate over HB 2800. Read Joe Cortright's critique here. And then send him a thank you note.

When Bob Stacey took a big risk and knocked out the pro-crc but otherwise good on transportation issues Rex Burkholder in the Metro President race Bob proved that the CRC could be an election defining issue for area voters. Bob's race put other electeds on notice, and his leadership is inspiring new activism.

Here on BlueOregon, though, it's hard to say "bridge project" without thinking "costly risky freeway mega-project" or thinking of the man who has written more unpaid columns on this story than anyone, Evan Manvel. Now firmly rooted up in Seattle working at the Cascade Bicycle Club Evan now finds himself somewhat ironically on the Washington side of this story. Let's hope the current bridge is just as he dug up from the ODOT records - good for another 50 years.

So what happens to all the money? The $450 million in Oregon bonds and the $850 million in federal funds?

I guess it's just sitting there. Are you gonna take it?

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