But the two governors see the flopped project as a loss for citizens. Kitzhaber released a statement saying Washington lawmakers "failed" to address the need for an essential new bridge. Inslee is "beyond disappointed" with his state's inaction, which cost the project $850 million in federal funds.

Rep. Jim Moeller (D-Vancouver) says any alternatives are just talk and the CRC is the only viable proposal on the table. He says Republicans used light rail as a "red herring," since most of that portion was covered by federal funds.

Consultants’ Costs

Of the $175 million already spent, $37 million went to Portland-based David Evans and Associates, which referred all ENR questions to the CRC team. The firm's subcontractors collected another $77 million, including $22 million to Parsons Brinckerhoff, according to CRC documents.

Some of the consulting work's geotechnical data could still prove useful in the future. Portland's Shannon & Wilson used its $4.8-million contract to produce data from large-diameter test shafts drilled more than 250 ft deep, says Gary Peterson, a senior vice president. "The data will be useful on this alignment in the future. Obviously, a major alignment change would render the tests invalid."

But no one is expecting a new proposed megaproject. While both state departments of transportation remain silent on the corridor's future, Kitzhaber has called for ODOT to "review all of the work on the Oregon side of the project to determine if any stand-alone investments could be made to improve safety and reduce congestion [but] on a smaller scale."

What is next—including the possibility of multiple bridges—is up in the air. Whether a new proposal would keep the alignment near the current two bridges and what modes of transportation the new crossing would carry will be questions for a new leadership team.

George Crandall, an urban designer and principal architect at Crandall Arambula, Portland, opposed the CRC project. He says it isn't a matter of selling one alternative over another but of having a discussion to find "cheaper options and [phased] alternatives."