In my campaign for Council I strongly opposed the 4th bridge (not the 3rd bridge, as we already have three bridges in Salem). I proposed that we fix the current bridges and address any traffic problems in achievable ways other than a nearly half billion dollar project within no realistic funding mechanism. Please visit my Facebook page, Tom Andersen – A Progressive Voice for Salem, to see details on why I oppose this boondoggle. Another FB site, NO 3rd Bridge, is an excellent source of information as to why this is a foolish 20th century solution for a 21st century issue.
After a long hiatus, the bridge proposal has come before the Council in a big way. The Council, with Councilor Dickey and I voting no, recently voted to start the process to expand the Urban Growth Boundary in order to be able to build the bridge with its lengthy and elevated off ramps into and above both sides of the river.
As part of this process, there will be a public hearing on October 12, at the 50+Center on Portland Road, at 6pm. I urge folks to come and testify.
I believe that the vast majority of people in Salem oppose this project. Those who support it now might not support it when they learn that the unrealistic funding plan involves increases in Salem property tax, in Salem gas tax, and a toll on every single crossing, each way, on all three car bridges. The public has to vote on the first two of these funding mechanisms. How feasible is it that these drastic measures will be supported by the voters?
The recent election of three new progressive Councilors, who will take office next January, is strong proof that Salem citizens do not support this waste of time, energy, and money. Each of these Councilors-to-be, Cara Kaser, Matt Ausec, and Sally Cook, opposed the new bridge and defeated candidates who supported it. Sally and Cara won in landslides.
Perhaps the fact that these new Councilors will be installed in January might have some connection to the rush to move the process forward after nearly a year and a half of inactivity. Or it might be a mere coincidence. You decide.
I look forward to hearing from as may people as possible on October 12.
Tom Andersen is a trial lawyer and has served as ward 2 city councilor since January 2015