I-5 Bridge Funding
4:36 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Oregon Governor Urges Legislature To Act Quickly To Fund I-5 Bridge

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is stepping up the pressure on state lawmakers to make funding a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River a top priority. The Democrat made his case for a new span between Portland and Vancouver at a gathering of business leaders Monday.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber speaks to the Oregon Leadership Summit.
Credit Colin Fogarty

The new bridge would replace a pair of frequently congested spans that supporters of the project say have long outlived their usefulness. Construction costs are expected to top $3.5 billion, and critics have blasted the bridge as a boondoggle. But state officials and members of Congress from Washington and Oregon say replacing the structures will be key to maintaining a healthy infrastructure in the Northwest.

Gov. Kitzhaber says he wants Oregon lawmakers to approve $450 million in bonds when they return to Salem next month.

"After a decade of planning, after a year of legislative review, it's time to get this project off the ground."

Lawmakers in Olympia will likely also consider a bridge construction package in their next session. The state portion of the project would likely be funded by a combination of tolls, gas taxes or higher vehicle registration fees.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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