July 14, 2009

Wyden, Merkley Announce $3.2 Million in Improvements to Buena Vista Ferry

Recovery Act Funding Will Purchase New Ferry Boat, Improve Ferry Landings and Terminal

Washington, D.C. - Working to improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced today that $3.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will be used to revitalize the Buena Vista Ferry.

"The Buena Vista Ferry is a landmark in Marion County," Wyden said. "For decades, it has served the mid-Willamette valley and with these improvements it will continue to be an important transportation tool for many more years. This funding will provide jobs and improve transportation across the Willamette River."

"It's critical that we not only upgrade our existing ferry lines but also improve their reliability and expand their reach," Merkley said. "This Recovery Act funding will expand ferry service and create much needed Oregon jobs."

The funding will be used to purchase a new ferry boat, improve the existing ferry landings and upgrade terminal electrical utilities from diesel-powered generators to overhead transmission lines. These enhancements will provide more reliable and expanded passenger and vehicle ferry service over the Willamette River.

The Buena Vista Ferry provides safe and reliable transportation across the Willamette River and is an integral component of the Marion County Rural Transportation System Plan. The existing ferry is more than 50 years old and requires many repairs and upgrades. The purchase of a new ferry is a more cost effective alternative to repairing the ferry. The project will also make improvements to the ferry's landings and terminal to ensure the safe crossing of people, vehicles and farm equipment for many years to come.