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States, manufacturers finalize mitigation agreements on Columbia River Crossing

Published 6/4/2013 2:00:00 PM

Published by the office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee on June 4, 2013:
State of Washington - Office of the Governor
States, manufacturers finalize mitigation agreements on Columbia River Crossing
Agreements protect jobs, promote regional economy
OLYMPIA – Oregon and Washington departments of transportation have signed pivotal agreements with two Columbia River manufacturers whose operations would be affected by construction of a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River. The agreements to mitigate those potential impacts are a crucial development in the effort to replace the aging Columbia River Crossing. 
“Oregon Iron Works and Greenberry Industrial are vital partners in maintaining our state’s manufacturing sector,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “They depend on a navigable river as well as an interstate that carries goods and people safely and efficiently. Governor Kitzhaber and I are grateful for their partnership as we replace the I-5 bridge.”
In January 2013, the joint Oregon and Washington Columbia River Crossing project submitted a general bridge permit application to United States Coast Guard. The application described the economic and transportation benefits of the project and proposed mitigation for potential impacts on the fabricators’ navigation-dependent operations.
”Safe and reliable travel on I-5 is a crucial economic driver for both states, and we must do everything possible to build this bridge and remain competitive in this global marketplace,” said Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. “I’m pleased by the deliberative process the states and the businesses are undertaking to develop these agreements and bring us closer to construction.”
Shipments from the two companies could be affected by the proposed bridge, which will have a maximum height of 116 feet. The states have been in discussions with them, as well as a third manufacturer, to determine how to mitigate the potential impacts while protecting the family-wage jobs they generate. Details of the mitigation agreements will be released once the permit process concludes with a decision from the USCG by September 30, 2013. 
”The leadership of Govs. Inslee and Kitzhaber has been a critical component of getting these agreements in place. The Oregon Legislature has done its job also, securing the funding for its share of the project,” said Washington State Senate Transportation Co-Chair Tracey Eide. “Now, it’s time for us in the Washington Legislature to do the same by passing a transportation package that ensures the safety of one of the nation’s most important bridges. The time to fund the I-5 bridge replacement is now.”
The aging I-5 bridges, built in 1917 and 1958, must be replaced to protect the drivers who make 128,000 daily trips across the span. The bridge is a critical component of the freight corridor that connects Canada to Mexico. More than $40 billion in freight crosses the bridge annually.
Click here for more information about the plan to replace the bridge and keep Washington’s economy moving.
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Bridge permit progress update

Published 5/30/2013 5:03:37 PM

In mid‐2012, the project began individual discussions with each of the three fabricators to develop a common understanding of the potential impact a 116-foot replacement bridge could have on the fabricators’ ability to transport very large shipments downriver under the proposed I-5 replacement bridge. At the early stages of these discussions, these privately‐held, local businesses needed assurances that their proprietary information, which is not otherwise publicly available, would be protected. As privately owned and controlled companies, these fabricators have trade specific, confidentially held business plans that, if disclosed, could put them at a substantial competitive disadvantage. Each of these businesses could be jeopardized if confidential information is made public or shared with competitors. However, this same economic data – including business revenues, business plans and future market potential – was central for both the fabricators and the CRC to fully and accurately assess, quantify and candidly discuss the potential economic and operational impacts the proposed replacement bridge  could have on these businesses.

In order to provide the protections the businesses deserved and enable the parties to engage in productive discussions to determine potential impacts, CRC executed non‐disclosure agreements (NDAs) ( with each of the fabricators. These NDAs provide the legal assurances the businesses need to provide CRC with detailed information about their business models and future market pursuits – information that is essential in accurately quantifying the impacts of the proposed bridge height and developing mitigation measures that are fair to the fabricators and the taxpayers, while preventing these important local businesses’ competitive positions from being compromised.

In January 2013, the CRC submitted a general bridge permit application to United States Coast Guard. The application proposed mitigation for the potential impacts of the replacement bridge on the fabricators’ navigation­‐dependent operations. This mitigation relies on an estimate of the value of lost profits for the three fabricators ranging between $30 million (low) to $116 million (high) total for all three fabricators. The project expects to achieve mitigation within the range described in the permit application.

Next steps

Mitigation discussions with the three fabricators are targeted for completion by August 30, 2013. The USCG deliberations will continue until their decision on or before September 30, 2013. At that time, we anticipate making any executed mitigation agreements available for public review. It is also anticipated that any resulting agreements will contain the terms and conditions of mitigation as well as the aggregate dollar amounts negotiated by the parties that sufficiently address these business impacts.

In early May the USCG released the CRC permit application for public review and is accepting written comments on the application until June 20, 2013. The USCG has scheduled two public meetings in Portland on June 4 and in Vancouver on June 5 to receive comments on the permit application. The permit application identifies and outlines avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures for impacts. It includes proposed mitigation for these impacts and the number of jobs potentially affected by a replacement bridge with a vertical clearance of 116 feet. The application and related information can be found online: The online information will be updated regularly as the permitting process moves forward.

CRC provides information at Oregon’s 11th annual Governor’s Marketplace event

Published 4/22/2013 9:41:04 AM

Organized by the Governor’s office of Economic & Business Equity, this event provided an opportunity for hundreds business leaders representing small, disadvantaged, minority or women owned firms to learn about procurement processes, engage in conversations about business development tools and network. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown, Federal Highway Administration’s Associate Administrator for Civil Rights Warren Whitlock and Salem Mayor Anna Peterson were just a few of the more than 50 presenters at the 11th annual Governor’s Marketplace event.

The Columbia River Crossing project presented to an audience of approximately 50 attendees during a breakout session and spoke one-on-one with dozens of firms during the afternoon vendor fair. The CRC presentation provided an overview of the project, its current status and anticipated construction sequencing. Additionally, the project shared equity guidelines in Oregon HB 2800 and how it will promote equity in contracting—a top priority for Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.

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President Obama’s budget proposal includes $65 million for Columbia River Crossing

Published 4/10/2013 3:50:20 PM

President Obama today sent to Congress a 2014 budget proposal that includes $65 million for construction of light rail as part of the Columbia River Crossing project.

This request demonstrates the administration’s support for the project and shows confidence that Oregon and Washington will secure a full funding grant agreement for the project's light rail component in 2014.
A full funding grant agreement is the completion of the formal competitive process to receive federal transit funds under the New Starts program. CRC began the process in 2009 and has updated its application annually as more information was available and as required milestones were achieved.

More info:

US DOT budget proposal highlights. See page 28:
Oregon Legislature, governor approve CRC funding:

Columbia River Crossing continues investment grade analysis process

Published 4/10/2013 3:47:14 PM

The Columbia River Crossing will begin the second of two major surveys in support of the investment grade traffic and revenue modeling. The “stated preference survey” asks drivers to evaluate prospective travel behavior changes when the Interstate Bridge is tolled. The results will help develop travel demand modeling.

The stated preference survey consists of two similar surveys administered to passenger vehicle or commercial vehicle drivers and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Both will use in-person polling at various locations in the region. Some passenger vehicle drivers who participated in previous surveys, and elected to receive further communications from the project, may receive an email invitation to an online version of this survey.  
Results from this and previous surveys will be used to inform the CRC’s investment grade traffic and toll revenue analysis related to construction funding. The completed analysis will help inform credit rating agencies about the value of the bonds secured by toll revenue. This is similar to a bank using a person’s income and credit score to develop an interest rate. CRC’s borrowing is anticipated through the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program and other state borrowing.

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