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February 08, 2017

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Unfortunately, the DLCD cannot rejoin the LUBA appeal. Too late for that. But when the DLCD Commission (confusingly known as the LCDC) finds out that the Salem City Council has failed to approve their mediated settlement, there could be repercussions. ODOT and the other regional partners in the Salem River Crossing Project may realize that the project is in trouble. It may not be worth millions more to try to complete the Environmental Impact Statement. These are discretionary regional transportation dollars that could be put to better use in the region. The Federal Highway Administration, that ultimately has to approve the EIS, may also realize that this is not a project that the community and its elected officials are solidly behind. It might be prove to be a nail in the coffin.

Re: "the DLCD cannot rejoin the LUBA appeal"

So are you sure then that opposing the IGA is the best strategy? Locking in an unpopular congestion pricing model might actually be a surer path to hindering or defeating the bridge than hoping that cancelling the IGA won't embolden the SRC team simply to revert to full speed ahead and business as usual.

Taking away a real brake on the project and hoping that "there could be repercussions" doesn't actually sound like anything very powerful or certain.

Rallying behind cancelling the IGA looks increasing self-defeating!

Breakfast on Bikes raises a good point. Up until now the backers of the 3rd bridge have been intentionally fuzzy on the funding sources for the new bridge. I can't think of a better way to get most of the people in Salem against this proposal than to get it out in the open that building a 3rd bridge will entail a $1.50 charge each way on every bridge all the time.

I don't think 75% of the city population will want to pay a toll to pop over and visit relatives in the evening or to stop by Wallery's for dinner or travel to the beach on the weekend (traffic congestion is non-existent on bridge traffic i would guess 80% of the time) just so that people that chose to live in the west part of town don't have to deal with the 15-30 minutes of rush hour traffic delays that have already previously existed there for the past 40 years.

Then there is always the regressive nature of the set per-vehicle cost of crossing. That toll each way is a much bigger financial hit for, say, a housekeeper making min wage going over to west Salem to go to work than it is for a doctor who lives in W Salem going to work at the hospital. Do we really want a city where people have to stop and consider if they can afford to even step foot in certain parts?

Maybe the IGA should be supported, and moreover the "congestion pricing" should recoup the millions in funds already spent (wasted) on bridge development and even be increased so that we can pay off the bridge even faster! I'm thinking like $5-$10 toll per vehicle per crossing. Hell lets just make it $20 and throw in a complimentary rock to toss out your window on the way over the 3rd bridge to play "try and smash the blue heron egg in the nest below!"

The IGA advances the 3rd Bridge. Four councilors ran and were elected on a platform in opposition to the 3rd Bridge. Therefore, to keep their campaign promises they need to reject the IGA on principle. To play political games with this would be unprincipled and may have unintended consequences, IMHO. In March I believe voters in Ward 6 will elect Chris Hoy to the vacant seat in their ward. Chris is running opposed to the 3rd Bridge. So after March 14th there will likely be a majority of Councilors who ran promising to pull the plug on the 3rd Bridge. They will have the power to do just that.

Is there a timeline driving the decision to put this to a city council vote now? Especially given the apparent 4/4 split between councillors committed and opposed to the SRC?

If this isn't required, it seems an odd time to put this on the agenda unless the game is to defeat it through deadlock and, as BoB put it, full speed ahead.

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