Audit requested by WPC on Columbia River Crossing project released by Auditor’s Office

April 18, 2014

The State Auditor’s Office released the results from a WPC-requested audit on the Columbia River Crossing project a few days ago.

The Washington State Department of Transportation spent $182 million on the project, including $17 million in questionable and excessive spending, according to the Auditor’s report. The Auditor's office also recommends several reform measures and ways to recoup a small portion of the excess money spent.

The Oregon-Washington megaproject was very controversial due to the proposed height, inclusion of a $1 billion light rail line, questionable spending, and other irregularities. The Washington state legislature cancelled funding for the project and Oregon’s legislature chose not to pay the full cost of the bridge. 


A light rail project stopped

It's not every day that a big light rail project with a Federal funding share of $850 million is stopped by citizen action.

In fact, this kind of reversal of intent of high-level elected officials -- Governors and Congressional representatives in two states -- is rare.

The CRC project was last documented by FTA in its New Starts report in early 2014, visible in a pdf at

Worth remembering that Washington Policy Center was active in recent years in documenting costs and benefits of this project and other light rail projects on the West Coast.