The Oregon legislature has approved spending $450 million to help build the Columbia River Crossing.
The Oregon Senate voted to approve the project to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Columbia River Monday on a bipartisan 18-11 vote. Passage of HB 2800A sends a signal to Washington State and Washington, D.C. that Oregon is ready to move ahead on efforts to build a safer crossing and fix the bottleneck near the current bridge.
“We’re committed to building a safe river crossing for cars, bikes, pedestrians and light rail,” said Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield). “Replacing the bridge will create jobs and secure long-lasting economic advantages for the region into the future.”
Studies of the current I-5 bridge have shown that the current bridge is at significant risk of collapse during an earthquake and that it causes congestion and freight immobility. House Bill 2800A authorizes the Oregon Department of Transportation to finance and begin work on the I-5 replacement bridge. The project includes interchange upgrades, the extension of light rail service to Vancouver, and a new double-deck bridge.
“Building a safer bridge across the Columbia will benefit all of Oregon,” said Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham). “Wheat growers from Umatilla County, wineries from Southern Oregon, and truckers on Oregon’s highways are counting on less congestion and greater freight mobility to ensure that their product gets to market.”
The bill includes strict standards to ensure that Oregon doesn’t get left holding the bag. Additional provisions in HB 2800A ensure that the state’s investment in the project is contingent on financial commitments from Washington State and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Governor Kitzhaber commended the Oregon Senate for its bipartisan vote in support of HB 2800. The Governor made his statement from his five-day trade mission in Amsterdam and Berlin.
“The vote in the Senate today is an important step forward for our state and the Pacific Northwest economy,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “By investing in a safe and effective transportation system for Oregon, we are providing a safer and less congested trip for freight and commuters. I look forward to signing the bill. It is time that we build this bridge.”