All Politics is Local

Madore’s bridge financing plan leaves people wanting more

At Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, a Vancouver resident pressed David Madore for details on how he plans to finance his four-lane bridge. (You know, the one he said in January would be built within five years. The one that starts and ends in areas where county commissioners don’t have jurisdiction. The one located in a spot where regional transportation planners identified would need a bridge, but not until Clark County’s population hits 1 million. The one he compares to the megaproject CRC.)

“You guys are way ahead of yourselves … in moving forward with a proposal, because there is no financing plan … we need to see a financing plan before you put this out to the public,” said Craig Dewey.

Commissioner Ed Barnes agreed with Dewey that there has been a lack of transparency by Madore and Tom Mielke, and reiterated he won’t support a third bridge because the problem continues to be on Interstate 5.

Madore countered that FIGG Engineering Group and PLC Construction have the financing planned. They are able to stand behind the project, and are pre-qualified, he said.

“The finance plan, we were way ahead of anything that the CRC did … The money is there. All we need to do is have each state say, ‘Yes,’” Madore said.

In response to Madore’s claims, Vancouver City Councilor Jack Burkman emailed a public disclosure request to the county:  “I request a copy of the proposal for an East County Bridge presented by Figg Engineering to the Board of County Commissioners or to any Commissioner.”

An assistant in the commissioners’ office emailed Burkman links to a slide presentation made at the July 25 meeting and to a CVTV video of the event.

Burkman wrote back: “At today’s meeting Commissioner Madore stated that he has a complete proposal, including financing plan. That is what I am requesting.”

The assistant replied that everything the county has is online.

Then Burkman received a letter from Madore:

From: Madore, David

Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:50 PM

To:jackburkman@gmail.com‘; Madore, David
Subject: East County Bridge

Councilman Jack Burkman,

I am pleased to hear that you are interested in our community’s opportunity to move forward with vision and leadership as we consider the tangible grand turnkey proposal that has been offered to us.

We now have the sound counsel of an expert transportation architect, an appropriate design, a competent bridge building company that has committed to build the project within five years of the green light, a known maximum price, a package that includes all permits, compliances, processes, connections, the whole kitchen sink, and available pre-approved financing.

As stated in the presentation and Q&A time, this project, like the CRC, does not include any federal highway funds.  And like the CRC, any bi-state bridge would be paid for by the two states.  But unlike the CRC, the total cost of this project is less than the down payment alone that the states were willing to pay for the CRC project. 

The financing is very simple. Oregon and Washington would pay for this bi-state bridge either in cash or in payments, as preferred by the states.  The CRC required a local match for $850 million in FTA funds and billions in debt above the $900 million down payment.  This project eliminates the FTA local match, the billions in debt, and therefore does not need to tolls that were necessary to cover those expenses.

 This bottom up process is the reverse of the CRC top down process.  As we begin by presenting a vision that was already encouraged by the citizens, and a now that know the bridge can be built, we can progressively include a larger circle of citizens, community local leaders, legislators, Ports, DOTs, MPOs and finally our two governors. 

The design / build / transportation architect team is available for Q&A times and meetings.  More meetings and brainstorming sessions are on the horizon.  I welcome you and your colleagues to help our community to find a way to move forward.

If you have any questions, I invite your call.  My cell # is 360-601-3056.

Thank you,

David

I’ll finish this post with a nod to #tbt, and include this quote from Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt’s 2011 State of the City Address:

“Finally, Leavitt fiercely called for support of the Columbia River Crossing project, dismissing proposals for a third bridge and saying people with “disingenuous motives” are trying to distract from the project.”

Stephanie Rice

I have worked at The Columbian since 1996. I covered the criminal justice system for 10 years and currently cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at stephanie.rice@columbian.com or 360-735-4508.

Comments