December 03, 2015

Wyden: Transportation Bill Includes Key Oregon Projects and Tourism Priorities

Hood River, I-205 in Portland and Newberg-Dundee Bypass Gain from Long-term Highway Funding Legislation

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) praised tonight’s congressional passage of a long-term plan to rebuild the national transportation infrastructure for including three essential highway projects in Oregon as well as vital tourism priorities for the state.

“This long-term approach to funding our highways provides the road map that’s a must for our economy to generate good-paying jobs,” said Wyden, a member of the transportation infrastructure conference committee that developed the legislation. “Rebuilding our country’s infrastructure creates much-needed certainty for businesses looking to invest and for state legislatures working to unsnarl transportation gridlock keeping too many workers stuck on the road instead of home with their families.”

The senator lauded the bill for bringing new projects within national scenic areas into the mix for transportation funding, including bridges near Hood River and Cascade Locks. He also cited another provision that upgrades both I-205 in Portland and the Newberg-Dundee Bypass to “high priority corridor” status, which means both routes would be poised right near the top of the list for future federal investment.

Wyden looks forward to working on these projects with both Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who helped write the House bill; and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that shares jurisdiction over this essential work.

Wyden also praised the bill for including important tourism-related provisions that would encourage states and metropolitan planning organizations to consult with local travel leaders in the development of their long-term transportation plans.

"The bill will ensure that the travel industry has a voice in transportation planning and that investments are targeted towards projects that improve traveler mobility—a key in growing Oregon’s economy,’ said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism commission. “Thanks go to Senator Wyden, Congressman DeFazio and the Oregon delegation for fighting to include these policies. They clearly know the value of the state's travel and tourism industry, which has grown to over $10.3 billion while providing jobs for more than 100,000 Oregonians."