June 06, 2023

Merkley, Wyden Announce $1.55 Million to Improve Oregon Transportation by Tackling Problems Caused by Railroad Crossings

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will be awarding Bend and Portland a combined total of $1,550,000 to support planning and projects that will eliminate railroad crossings, improving congestion, accessibility, and safety in the communities. 

“Freight and passenger trains are vital modes of transportation for businesses and communities, but when their tracks intersect with car, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure, they can cause huge headaches,” said Senator Merkley. “We’ve all had the frustrating experience of being stuck for what feels like ages at a crossing, or worrying about going over dangerous tracks on a bike. This funding will help the cities of Bend and Portland keep residents safe while traveling throughout the city using any mode of transportation.” 

“This federal investment will go straight to quality of life in our state by easing annoying conflicts at rail crossings between needed train service and Oregonians driving, biking and walking in Bend and Portland,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering these resources to reduce these traffic snarls and significant community inconveniences. And I’ll keep working to find more opportunities that ensure Oregon continues to get our fair share of benefits from this landmark infrastructure law.”

This funding is provided under the Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Grant Program, which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and funds highway-rail or pathway-rail grade crossing improvement projects that focus on improving the safety and mobility of people and goods. 

Information on the awards coming to Oregon can be found below: 

  • City of Bend: $1,050,000 to support the elimination of one crossing on Reed Market Road by building an overpass bridge for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians.?  
  • City of Portland: $500,000 to examine 15 at-grade crossings in the Central Eastside neighborhood in Portland, which cause frequent blockages, leading to safety and congestion issues.?