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Portland-Vancouver bridge gets fast-track status

PORTLAND — A controversial bridge project linking the cities of Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore., has received “expedited” status from President Barack Obama, a move that’s largely bureaucratic and the impact of which is unclear.

The Oregonian reported Friday that the Columbia River Crossing project has been placed on Obama’s fast-track transportation projects list.

Govs. John Kitzhaber and Chris Gregoire say the designation will mean the process to get federal permits will be expedited.

Obama’s order doesn’t come with any money.

The project has been beset by criticism of its proposed spending, its design and its traffic estimates.

Few argue that the situation as it stands is tenuous: The Interstate 5 corridor faces one of its worst bottlenecks between Portland and Vancouver. Traffic gets backed up and freight is delayed.

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