SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A state senator seen as a key swing vote on the proposed Columbia River bridge replacement says he will be voting against it.
Republican Sen. Bruce Starr of Hillsboro says in a statement released Thursday that Oregon and Washington legislatures must work together on the project.
Starr's decision is a major blow to the effort by Gov. John Kitzhaber, House Speaker Tina Kotek and the business and labor groups that are eager to build the bridge despite Washington state's refusal to contribute money.
Plans call for widening several miles of Interstate 5, replacing the bridge over the Columbia and extending Portland's light-rail into Vancouver, Wash.
Proponents say the existing bridge causes bottlenecks and will collapse in a major earthquake. Critics say an Oregon-only approach would put too much risk on state taxpayers.