Culminating more than a decade of planning, Governor Kitzhaber and the Oregon Legislature made their commitment to finance Oregon’s share of replacing the I-5 bridge across the Columbia River. Last week’s signing of HB 2800 represents a major victory for Oregon workers, Oregon businesses, and all Oregonians who depend on a safe and efficient transportation system to move themselves, their families, and the goods and services they rely on.
The new bridge will create thousands of construction jobs in the near-term, thousands of permanent jobs in the long-term, and will replace one of the oldest and most unsafe structures in our region with a modern, earthquake-proof bridge carrying freight, cars, light rail, bicycles, and pedestrians.
House Bill 2800 was shaped by a joint committee in early February. The legislation includes several “triggers” or safeguards that place conditions on the release of Oregon state funding for the project. These triggers include: 1) that Washington commit its state funding contribution, 2) that the Oregon State Treasurer reviews traffic and revenue projections produced through the Investment Grade Analysis and the project’s finance plan, 3) that the project receive a general bridge permit from the U.S. Coast Guard, and 4) that the Federal Transit Administration submits a New Starts grant for $850 million for congressional review.
The work is not done. Now it’s up to Washington to share in our commitment. Please contact your peers in Washington State and ask that they do their part to finance this critical regional transportation priority.