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.
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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