No Tolls on The Bridge!
Partial DRAFT Response to
Questions Submitted by C!TRAN Board
May 14, 2013 Special Meeting
May 13, 2014
Note: Responses to some questions are still under
development and will be provided when completed.
City of Washougal ! Connie Jo Freeman
1. Is "light rail" required to obtain federal funding, or will "bus rapid!transit"
Local project sponsors unanimously selected light rail as the preferred option in
2008 because the
benefits were greater than other options studied, including bus rapid transit. Changing
the LPA to
include bus rapid transit would require agreement from the project’s partners in
Oregon. If that agreement was reached, CRC would need to describe the design changes
associated environmental impacts in a re!evaluation document. The Federal Transit
(FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would review the document and decide
of action. If the re!evaluation finds no new significant impacts, FTA and FHWA would
Record of Decision and the project proceeds. If a change to the preferred alternative
results in new
and significant impacts, a supplemental EIS is required. A supplemental EIS would
likely require 12 to
24 months to complete.
If an agreement was reached to change the LPA to include bus rapid transit, the New
Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) would be delayed because it cannot be awarded without
Record of Decision. A new grant application would be submitted, which FTA would re!evaluate.
a 12 to 24 month schedule delay, FTA has stated that federal funds may not be available
for the CRC
Project. See question 11 for more information.
2. Do the stops meet the criteria for ½ mile employment requirement? [CTRAN]
Yes. FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff wrote a letter dated July 24, 2012, related to
this issue, stating
that “local project sponsors have provided sufficient documentation to FTA that demonstrates
the light rail transit stations proposed as part of the CRC project are reasonably
located within a
one!half mile radius of the employment areas…”
City of Vancouver ! Larry Smith
3. Question on timing ! is it necessary for the operations and maintenance funding
plan to be in
place by October 2013?
A New Starts agreement requires all capital funds and operations and maintenance
funds to be
identified and committed, including state equity funds and tolling authorization.
The Finance Plan
assumes application for the grant by October 2013, with FTA grant funds committed
in the second
quarter of 2014. FTA has said there is less certainty for New Starts funding after
2013, and CRC is
one of a few projects at the top of the list.
DRAFT – 5/13/13 Page 1 of 29
Clark County ! Tom Mielke
4. Will TriMet receive the farebox revenues in addition to the $2 million they would
be paid to
operate light rail?
It is assumed that C!TRAN will receive farebox revenue from the light rail transit
trips that begin
in Vancouver and TriMet will receive farebox revenue for the trips that begin in
Please refer to question 27 for more information about cost sharing between C!TRAN
and TriMet for
operations and maintenance of light rail.
C!TRAN/ATU ! Roy Jennings
5. What is the projected cost to C!TRAN for wages and fuel due to traffic congestion
replacement bridge is not built?
Based upon Alternative 4 of the C!TRAN 20 Year Plan that assumes no replacement bridge
aggressive financially constrained budget for bus service, the operations and maintenance
express service is expected to reach approximately $15,220,000 per year in 2030 dollars
inflation). However, traffic congestion is expected to continue to raise costs more
than what projected
funding can accommodate and the projected express service levels will likely be reduced
as travel times
continue to increase.
Cities of La Center/Ridgefield ! Jim Irish
6. Show a representative year when tolls were levied on the existing bridges and
compare to CRC
estimates for proposed tolls.
It is difficult to draw direct comparisons between the cost of tolls levied on the
I!5 bridge between 1917
and 1929 and 1958 and 1966 with today’s dollars. However, the following comparisons
were made using
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics online Consumer Price Index Inflation calculator:
Tolls were collected on the first bridge from 1917!1929. The toll was $0.10 for
a vehicle and
driver. According to the BLS, the ten!cent toll levied in 1917 would have the equivalent
power of $1.82 in 2013. A $0.10 toll in 1929 is the equivalent of $1.36 in 2013 dollars.
Tolls were collected on the second bridge from 1958!1966. Tolls were $0.20 for
cars and $0.40
to $0.60 for trucks. Using the same calculator, the $0.20 toll in 1958 would be $1.61
dollars, and $1.44 when comparing the 1966 value. For larger vehicles, the original
$0.60 toll in 1958 would have the equivalent buying power in 2013 of $3.22 to $4.83.
this range would have the equivalent buying power of $2.87 to $4.31 in 2013 dollars.
For the Final EIS, the range of one!way toll rates studied for the financial analysis
was $1 to $3
(2006 dollars, see Exhibit 4.3!3 from the FEIS). Assuming a 2.5 percent annual inflation
range in 2013 dollars would be $1.19 to $3.57.
Please note that the CPI Inflation calculator was used to calculate current dollar
year figures for toll rates
specific to the 1917 and 1958 I!5 bridges. The calculator was used for all years
up to 2013.
Toll analysis for the project has been based on toll rate schedules in 2006 dollars
which, when escalation
was necessary, were escalated at 2.5% per year. The assumed toll rate provided
in 2013 dollars is not
calculated using the CPI Inflation calculator.
The CPI Inflation calculator escalation between 2006 and 2013 does not
exactly match this 2.5%
assumed escalation rate used in project tolling analysis. Because the 2.5%
escalation rate has been
assumed in analysis and is the basis for toll rates analyzed, it is continued here.
DRAFT – 5/13/13
7. Provide the number of people crossing southbound on both the I!5 and I!205 bridges
during peak hours.*(updated )
The latest data we’ve prepared for southbound peak period traffic is that reported
in the FEIS Traffic
Technical Report. That provides southbound data for a 2!hour AM peak on I!205 and
for a 4!hour
AM peak on I!5. These figures are as follows:
I!5 vehicle demands (4!hour AM peak) = 26,300
I!205 vehicle demands (2!hour AM peak) = 17,745
For 2012, we have average weekday traffic (AWD) volumes on I!5 and on I!205.
2012 AWD on I!5 is 128,400 vehicles (rounded to the nearest hundred).
2012 AWD on I!205 is 145,400 vehicles (rounded to the nearest hundred).
8. Could the CRC project proceed as planned with the bridge simply LRT ready?
No. Building the project without light rail would not meet the project’s purpose
and need, as
documented in the analysis performed under the National Environmental Policy Act
approved in the federal Record of Decision.
Clark County ! Steve Stuart
9. What would be required procedurally (including potential time, additional approvals
who, and analysis required) for FTA to switch funding for CRC high capacity transit
from LRT to
BRT (or if it would be even allowed)? *(updated)
Bus Rapid Transit was studied and not selected because light rail performed better.
Going back and
choosing a different high capacity transit mode would first require agreement by
partners in Washington and Oregon to initiate the change. The agreement reached by
sponsors and stakeholders on the current LPA occurred over a six year period between
Amending the LPA requires describing the design changes and the associated environmental
in a NEPA re!evaluation document. FTA and FHWA would review the document and decide
course of action. If the re!evaluation finds no new significant impacts, FTA and
FHWA would amend
the Record of Decision and the project proceeds. If a change to the preferred alternative
new and significant impacts, a supplemental EIS is required. A supplemental EIS would
12 to 24 months to complete, depending on the scope and degree of environmental and
The New Starts Full Funding Grant Agreement would be delayed until completion of
supplemental EIS because it cannot be awarded without a current Record of Decision.
A new grant
application would be submitted, which FTA would re!evaluate. With a 12 to 24 month
delay, FTA has stated that federal funds may not be available for the CRC Project.
DRAFT – 5/13/13
10. I would like an explanation of what an MOS (minimum operational segment) is,
and how the Clark
College terminus was determined to be that?
A minimum operable segment (MOS) is defined in the FTA New Starts program as the
alternative segments considered for a high capacity transit project. The MOS must
as a stand!alone project, attracting riders but minimizing costs. FTA urges consideration
of one or
more minimum operable segments as separate alternatives.
The four potential terminus options in the draft EIS (Clark College MOS, Mill Plain
MOS, Kiggins Bowl
Terminus, and Lincoln Terminus) were each analyzed with one representative park!and!ride
configuration unique to its alignment and terminus. The costs, transit ridership
effectiveness, and environmental consequences for each alternative are documented
in the draft EIS
and final EIS. Detailed findings can be found in the Transit Technical Report and
In July 2008, the Vancouver City Council and C!TRAN Board of Directors, along with
the boards and
councils of other regional partners, endorsed a LPA with a terminus at Clark College,
following a 60!
day review period, public hearings and the recommendation from the 39 member CRC
City of Vancouver ! Tim Leavitt
11. Explain why the CRC LPA decided on light rail transit (LRT) as the preferred
high capacity transit
mode instead of bus rapid transit (BRT).
Light rail was selected over bus rapid transit by the Vancouver City Council, C!TRAN
Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, Portland City Council, TriMet
Council, and the bi!state CRC Task Force for the following reasons:
Light rail will travel faster than bus rapid transit within the project area (averaging
versus 14.5 mph, including stops) because it will have signal priority, shorter wait
stations, and quicker acceleration. Bus rapid transit would travel in exclusive lanes,
but would be
mixed with general traffic on local streets outside the project area, and would be
delayed due to
congestion in those areas.
Light rail has more capacity and will carry 6,100 people over the I!5 crossing
the peak period, while the alternatives with bus rapid transit would only carry 5,150
Integration with the existing system will allow transit users to travel between
Portland without a transfer. Transfers add travel time and decrease trip reliability
Operation and maintenance costs for light rail are 25 percent lower per rider compared
rapid transit due to the need for more drivers on more buses.
The locally preferred alternative was endorsed by FHWA and FTA in the Record of Decision.
DRAFT – 5/13/13
Clark County ! David Madore
1. How many pages comprise the FEIS. How long would it take the average person to
read all of
The FEIS with full appendices is approximately 1,400 pages. It includes a 39 page
provides a meaningful explanation of the project, its impacts and mitigation. The
time it takes to
read these documents has not been estimated.
History and LPA Selection
2. Provide a concise definition of the LPA that received the ROD. Should a SEIS be
done due to the
significance of the change of scope, phasing, and basic financing changes made since
There has been no change to the LPA as identified in the ROD, nor have there been
changes to the financing plan.
The full build LPA, is described on pages 1 and 2 of the ROD includes:
A new river crossing over the Columbia River and I!5 highway improvements.
Improvements to seven interchanges, from south to north: Victory Boulevard, Marine
Hayden Island, SR!14, Mill Plain, Fourth Plain and SR 500. Related enhancements to
Improvements to the existing I!5 mainline bridge over North Portland Harbor
A variety of bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout the project corridor.
Extension of light rail transit from the Expo Center in Portland to Clark College
and associated transit improvements.
Transportation demand and system management measures to be implemented with the
project, including the use of tolls.
As the co!federal leads, FTA and FHWA will determine if a supplemental EIS should
be produced for
the project if any changes are made. To date, a supplemental EIS has not been deemed
The final EIS indicated that due to funding constraints the LPA may be phased and
phasing would not be known until the timing and availability of funds are finalized,
occur sometime after the ROD.
3. Does the Federal Government require LRT on a replacement bridge for the I5 crossing?
See response to question 5.
4. Does the Federal Government require "high capacity transit" on a replacement bridge
for the I5
DRAFT – 5/13/13
5. Does the Federal Government require any transit (beyond buses in mixed traffic)
replacement bridge for the I5 crossing?
Local project sponsors selected light rail as the preferred option in 2008 because
the benefits were
greater than other options studied, including BRT. See question 1 by Ms. Freeman
and question 11
by Mr. Leavitt for more information.
Federal requirements (23 CFR Part 450) require planners analyze alternatives including
to expansion of single occupancy vehicle travel facilities.
From the outset, the public and local agencies were involved in crafting the project’s
Values Statement and Purpose and Need Statement. Both documents identify limited
and poor transit reliability as one of the six elements project designs must address.
six local agency partners—including the City of Vancouver, Southwest Washington Regional
Transportation Council, C!TRAN, City of Portland, Metro and TriMet—unanimously agreed
2008 on the overall project components, including light rail as the transit element.
The process to
select the LPA and was validated by FTA and FHWA in 2011 with the Record of Decision.
6. The latest version of this project eliminates four freeway interchanges and the
interchange for this phase. Call this the LPA2. Provide a map showing the LPA2 components
the cost of each basic section.
See response to question 9.
7. Who authorized the changes that changed the LPA to the LPA2?
8. Did the project sponsors authorize the changes that converted the LPA to the LPA2?
sponsors? Provide documentation showing the authorization from each project sponsor.
9. Did the staff notify the project sponsors? If so, provide copies other notices
detailing the communication to each one.
The CRC project has not made changes to the Locally Preferred Alternative. The LPA
and the process
to select it was approved by the FTA and FHWA in the Record of Decision in December
10. Does the CRC staff recognize the authority of the project sponsors to approve
or disapprove such
changes? If so, what authority do the project sponsors retain? Define the present
authority of the project sponsors.
11. Do the project sponsors retain the authority to stop this project by withdrawing
their support or
by objecting to unauthorized changes by the CRC staff
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12. Since the CRC staff changed to the LPA2, has the staff also obtained authorization
informed the FHWA, ODOT, WSDOT and both state governors of those changes?
Please refer to the response in questions 6!9 above.
Cost, Finance and Funding
13. Provide the projected costs for the parking facilities.
Based on 2010 estimates, the total cost range for the three park and ride structures
is $158 million
to $176 million in year of expenditure dollars. This cost range includes design,
accounts for risk and inflation. It does not include the cost of acquiring property.
It’s important to
note that these costs are specific to the CRC project. The range includes some allowances
use development on the ground floor and architectural treatments, as per the recommendations
a CRC advisory committee and requirements of the City of Vancouver.
14. Provide the projected costs for the toll collection facilities.
Tolling implementation costs cover initial planning efforts; design and procurement
of tolling equipment
and infrastructure; installation and testing of tolling equipment and infrastructure;
center modifications and additional facilities locally for customer service
and administrative hearings;
and, communications and public education. The project’s cost estimate includes $45
million for tolling
15. Provide the projected costs to collect the tolls (gross verses net revenue).
The development of net toll revenue estimates from gross toll revenue estimates accounts
than just the cost to collect tolls. First, adjustments are made to incorporate non!account
rebilling fees, self!initiated payment costs, and adjustments for uncollectible revenue.
Then, deductions are incorporated for collection costs. Collection costs include
maintenance expenses for toll collection equipment, customer service center functions,
state operations costs and credit card fees associated with processing electronic
collection costs are estimated to reflect the nature of the cost, e.g. statewide
collection activity costs
may be estimated on a per transaction basis to proportionately share these costs
based on their relative usage of these statewide activities. Toll collection cost
ranges for the preliminary
scenarios are estimated as follows:
$15M ! $21M in fiscal year 2022, the first year after completion of the facility
$33M ! $39M in fiscal year 2040, outer year with established revenue and traffic
In addition to toll collection costs, routine annual facility operations and maintenance
response, mowing, snow removal, striping, litter pickup), and insurance premiums
for coverage of the
physical structure of the bridge as well as business interruption (loss of revenue)
are also allocated
before deriving net revenues.
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16. What are the costs for each of the major basic components of the project? Each
bridge, each parking facility, total light rail costs?
Columbia River Bridges, including approaches – $1.2 billion
Deck truss structure that includes the landings for mainline I!5 on both sides of
the river. The limits for
the landings extend approximately 3,600 feet into Oregon on Hayden Island, and approximately
feet into Washington in Vancouver.
Oregon ! Marine Drive Interchange – $325 million
Improvements include a single point urban interchange to increase mobility through
and onto I!5 directly in both directions (north and south).
Oregon ! Hayden Island Interchange and connector – $270 million
Improvements include full interchange ramps to access Hayden Island and a new structure/bridge
connect Hayden Island to the improved Marine Drive interchange.
Washington ! SR 14 Interchange – $250 million
Improvements include the connection to the major east/west state route in Washington
at the north
shore of the Columbia River.
Washington ! Mill Plain – $80 million
These improvements include upgrading the Mill Plain and I!5 interchange to allow
for more vehicular
and freight capacity to move through the interchange. This interchange is the primary
access point to
the Port of Vancouver.
Washington ! Fourth Plain – $100 million
This interchange is an alternate freight access point for the Port of Vancouver,
and is also the primary
interchange connection to the light rail terminus park and ride (Clark College).
improvements are planned at this interchange to accommodate those uses.
Light rail transit – $820 million
Improvements include extending the MAX Yellow Line from the Expo Center in the Marine
Drive area of
Oregon to the Clark College park and ride terminus in Vancouver (3 miles). The light
rail will share two
major structures, the mainland connector, and the southbound (western!most bridge)
bridge. The costs includes track, stations, three park and rides, light rail vehicles,
modifications to a
maintenance facility and operations center and modifications to the Steel Bridge.
Park and ride costs are
$158 to $176 million. Capital construction is funded by an $850 million FTA New Starts
grant which can
also include a portion of the bridge structure costs estimated at $1.2 billion. The
FTA finance plan
identifies $925 million of light rail costs that are transit eligible.
17. Provide the total debt service payment schedule (principal and interest) for
each year until the
debt is repaid in full that will cover all debt for this project.
The total amount of debt service for the project depends on the funding contributions
authorizations to be enacted by the Oregon and Washington legislatures, and is consistent
delivery of other state transportation projects. Attachment A provides preliminary
estimates of the
debt service for toll bonds under several scenarios.
18. Provide the total cost for this project including all finance costs, interest
rates, and interest to be
paid for the life of for each loan.
Direct design and capital construction costs are provided in response to question
16. Attachment A
provides estimates of finance!related costs associated with toll bonds and TIFIA
loans for several
DRAFT – 5/13/13 !"#$ ( &' %(
different scenarios. As stated in response to question 17, the debt service for the
depends on future decisions regarding funding contributions and bond authorizations
to be enacted
by the Oregon and Washington legislatures.
19. On February 19, 2013 Tiffany Couch asked for the Base Cost Estimate that would
support the costs
Kris Strickler testified about in Oregon, regarding a modified CRC project. See attached
March 20th, Ms. Couch received the following email indicating that a Base Cost Estimate
more modified project cost did not exist, instead she was given a different document,
responsive to her request. It appears that the $2.8B projection being testified about
same modified project as per the November 2012 FFGA application (see attached). Wouldn’t
base cost estimate be necessary in order to then fill out the attached FFGA application?
provide the Base Cost Estimate for the modified proposed project.
There has been no change to the LPA. The base cost estimate for the initial construction
identified in the 2012 New Starts update was provided in the table delivered to Ms.
The following project elements were identified in the New Starts application as those
that need to
be constructed first to achieve significant transportation benefits and are necessary
to operate the
light rail system:
The new river crossing over the Columbia River and the I!5 highway improvements,
improvements to three interchanges (Marine Drive, Hayden Island and SR 14/City Center),
well as associated enhancements to the local street network. This includes 4th Plain
interchange improvements needed to support the light rail system.
Extension of light rail from the Expo Center in Portland to Clark College in Vancouver,
associated transit improvements, including transit stations, park and rides, bus
station changes, and expansion of a light rail transit (LRT) maintenance facility.
Upgrades and modifications to the Steel Bridge and transit command center.
Purchase of 19 light rail vehicles (LRV), public art and other transit!related
Bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout the project corridor that connect
Toll system for the river crossing.
20. Attached is the summary of the CRC’s base cost estimate, the actual base cost
which the summary is derived, as well as the maps you often share with legislators
officials reporting the costs of the project. According to your CEVP report, the
Base Cost Estimate
is the cost of the project before it is escalated for risk and inflation.
a. Why are the costs of the interchanges for Oregon and Washington, per your Base
Estimate, MORE than the maps you are showing legislators?
b. When you escalate the costs of the Oregon and Washington interchanges from this
Cost, won’t the disparities between the actual costs and what you are reporting on
map be greater?
c. If the project costs are now different than the ones shown, please provide the
The provided base cost estimate summary allocating cost to various project elements
developed by the project and inaccurately assigns project costs. Costs may have simply
allocated based on their titles, without an understanding of their relationship to
the project design
(e.g. whether a line item related to the river crossing and approaches versus an
Detailed assumptions underlying the summary are not shown.
The current project cost estimate, in escalated, year of expenditure dollars including
inflation, includes $595 million associated with Oregon roadway and interchange improvements,
$435 million associated with Washington roadway and interchange improvements, $1.2
the replacement bridge and its approaches on both sides of the river, and $820 million
for light rail
transit extension. Capital construction is funded by an $850 million FTA New Starts
grant which can
identifies $925 million of light rail costs that are transit eligible.
21. The newly revised project, as per the attached FFGA application is a deviation
from the Record of
Decision approved in December 2011. Who approved a project that deviates from the
There has been no change in the project description as described in the final EIS
22. Per the FEIS and the current CRC plan shown in the following link, please provide
detail including the document section, page number and line number referenced that
following basic information:
Chapter 2 of FEIS includes a project description and sequencing plan description.
Section 2.1, p. 2!4
to 2!5 includes a description of the project’s LPA and the potential for phasing
23. There is a contradiction between the latest document that the CRC submitted (attached)
FTA and the letter from Amy Grotefendt, of ODOT, speaking on behalf of the CRC staff,
County Commissioner Steve Stuart on April 19, 2013. That letter says "There have
changes to the project definition." The letter goes on to claim that nothing else
has changed. The
latest document submitted to the FTA says in bold type "Significant Changes Since
(November 2011): The project's capital cost decreased from $3,507.87 million to $2,796.91
per a local decision to implement the project in phases." The initial phase will
include all project
elements required to make the LRT, highway, and tolling facility fully functional.
four highway interchanges, as well as the entire interchange at State Route 500,
will be deferred."
Since no funding is provided for anything that is deferred, the effect is to effectively
work except that which has not been deferred. Unless the project is funded and built
approved by the Record Of Decision, claims that the deferred (deleted) interchanges
disingenuous. Provide a clear compelling answer that reconciles these inconsistencies.
Deferral or phasing of elements of the CRC project is a function of funding. The
Legislature is currently considering a transportation package that would provide
funding for the Washington portion of the CRC project. The Oregon Legislature and
already approved state funding for the Oregon portion of the CRC project.
Elements described in the New Starts application include the minimum number of improvements
be included in the first sequence of the project construction, while maintaining
eligibility for federal
transit funding. The construction program described in the New Starts application
does not dictate
phasing for other elements of the project as described in the ROD. The FTA Full Funding
agreement (FFGA) is only one source of funding needed to complete the full scope
of the project as
defined in the ROD. The local funding provided by both state legislatures and other
Highway funds provided by FHWA will complete the full scope of the project.
Read the rest of the answers in the PDF:
PDF of CRC’s answers
In May 2013 the C-Tran Board of Directors submitted a number of questions to the
Here are the first few answers, with the complete set answers in this PDF.
CRC’s answer to C-Tran Comments on CRC’s answer Trimet’s projections accuracy
Correcting false claims about the CRC