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Thursday, March 21, 2013    

Columbia River Crossing project to receive Oregon funding


Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed a bill that provides $450 million for the Columbia River Crossing project.

After more than 10 years of planning, the Oregon Legislature moved quickly to pass the bill, which was developed by a joint legislative committee in early February, Kitzhaber administration officials said in a prepared statement.

"This is an important step forward for our state and the Pacific Northwest economy," said Kitzhaber. "By investing in a more efficient and effective transportation system for Oregon, we are providing a safer and less congested trip for freight and commuters."

The bill contains several conditions that must be met before the state releases funding for the project, including: the state of Washington must commit its share of funding; the Oregon state treasury must review traffic and revenue projections, and the project's finance plan; a general bridge permit must be received from the U.S. Coast Guard; and the Federal Transit Administration must submit an $850 million New Starts grant for congressional review.

The project is designed to improve safety and congestion along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 5 between State Route 500 in Vancouver and Victory Boulevard in North Portland. The project calls for replacing the Interstate bridge, improving five miles of I-5, extending light rail to downtown Vancouver, and improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities, according to the project's website.

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