By Richard Leonetti,
The planning and costs for the Portland-Vancouver seem to be way off the charts. Why should it take so long and cost so much? The latest version is to replace two bridges now in place of about 3,150 ft in length. The new one will include 3 lanes each way but have available six lanes each way for a total of 12 lanes. Something over $3 billion covers the highway portion with another $1 billion for the light rail and bikes: a total of over $4 billion.
Now compare this to the recently completed St Anthony Falls Bridge near Minneapolis finished 9/18/08. This is about the same width as the Columbia Bridge, consisting of two bridges with 5 lanes each way plus 14 ft shoulders that can be later used for light rail or dedicated bus lanes. (probably more cost effective than light rail). The bridge over the Mississippi is only 1,223 ft long so the Columbia span needs to be 2 1/2 times longer.
But here the comparison astounds: the Minneapolis bridge took only 47 weeks to build and cost only $234 million. We have already spent more time talking about the Columbia Bridge and are proposing to spend somewhere between 12 and 20 times as much building it. Even if our bridge were to cost twice as much per foot, it should barely top $1 billion–and it should not cost twice as much per foot to build.
What is wrong with Portland?
The Oregon Education Association letter to the editor (link) is another attack against the successful Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) virtual charter school. This campaign of misinformation will do serious harm to students and to one of Oregon’s successful schools. The letter actually attempts to cast the public charter school in the same light as bailout money going to corporate bonuses.
The teacher’s union has long been opposed to public charter schools. Charter schools are where innovation and flexibility enable public schools to escape the limitations of a system whose guidelines can fail schools for decades. The union seeks to close the successful public, virtual charter school. No matter what it takes.
The letter postures as merely “fighting for accountability, taxpayers and students”, yet this war they wage is an attack on all three. The “out-of-state corporations who profit off of Oregon’s virtual charter schools” statement is no more different than public schools buying books or computers from “out-of-state corporations who profit”. Read more…