New data shows that taxpayers finance thousands of dollars per month for consultants to study an unbuilt, controversial bridge.

In July, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) released figures showing that taxpayers currently pay more than $31 thousand per month, on average, for consultants who regularly bill hours related to a possible 3rd Bridge across the Willamette River.

In 2016, taxpayers paid $78,548 per month, on average, in consulting fees.

In 2017 – although the process is waiting for a decision from the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals since a December 2016 Salem City Council vote – (see, LUBA case advances towards decision, Salem Weekly, July 20, 2017) – consultants are still billing, and the public has still paid $189,881 in the last 6 months.

Since 2006, taxpayers have paid $7,925,394 to consultants for the possible project. It appears inevitable that the total will pass $8 million well before the end of the year.

The consultants are companies like CH2M, based in Colorado, engaged by the City of Salem to study the issue.