Anyone who doubts that the City Council did the right thing by killing the Third Bridge on a 6-3 vote last night should spend 10 minutes and watch Councilor Tom Andersen's eloquent explanation of why the Salem River Crossing project deserved to die. This video starts (hopefully) at the beginning of Andersen's remarks.
He points out that the official bridge reports show that a Third Bridge wouldn't reduce congestion, would be environmentally unsound, would displace many homes and businesses, likely wouldn't stand up in a major earthquake, would require tolling on both the current bridges and new bridge, and would suck about half a billion dollars out of taxpayer pockets.
So who has been pushing for the Third Bridge? Andersen poses this question yet leaves it unanswered. Well, the answer is... mostly special interests. Realtors. Builders. Pave-it-over advocates. Chamber of Commerce boosters. Sure, many people testified in favor of building the bridge last night.
But we need to remember that six of the nine members of the City Council were elected after making campaign promises to oppose a Third Bridge. So most people in Salem agree with killing this wasteful, ineffective, unneeded project.
Last night was a victory of the general public interest over special interests. Many thanks to Councilors Tom Andersen, Cara Kaser, Sally Cook, Chris Hoy, Jackie Leung, and Matt Ausec for doing the right thing.