Chair: Joan Snyder, Stoel Rives
Oregon’s transportation infrastructure represents a multi-billion dollar asset. As a global gateway and domestic hub, Oregon has a highly trade- dependent economy. In addition, since transportation accounts for nearly 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, Oregon must ensure investments in alternative modes of all kinds to provide transportation options for Oregon residents and businesses. Oregon Business Association believes transportation investment must reach every corner of the state and that all Oregonians must benefit from the investment.
Columbia River Crossing
The Columbia River Crossing (CRC), one of the largest public works projects in the Pacific Northwest, is located on the west coast’s main trade corridor from British Columbia to Mexico. Congestion on the bridge threatens the competitiveness of Oregon’s trade-dependent economy. Improvements are necessary in order to address seismic and safety concerns, improve barge traffic, eliminate drawbridges and improve the movement of goods. The addition of light rail and tolls will provide choices for commuters and incentives to use public transit.
OBA supports state funding at appropriate levels to advance the Columbia River Crossing project.
OBA recommends the creation of a Bi-State Bridge Authority to lead CRC development forward and become the authority ultimately responsible for bridge construction and operation. That entity should explore approaches to provide appropriate momentum and accountability to the project, including the concept of having one individual with authority and accountability responsible for managing all aspects of the project.
Connect Oregon IV
Connect Oregon is traditionally a lottery bond-based initiative that provides funds to improve Oregon’s transportation system through multimodal investments (aviation, transit, rail, and maritime) other than highway. Though funding sources this session are limited, the passage of Connect Oregon IV legislation, even if the funding pot is smaller or the program’s financing structure changes, would keep Connect Oregon program continuity and allow for additional multi-modal investments in the system.
OBA will work with the legislature and advocate passage of Connect Oregon IV legislation at appropriate funding levels.
Improvement of Passenger and Freight Rail System
Oregon’s transportation system is dependent on a strong freight and passenger rail system. A robust rail network reduces congestion, sustains jobs, generates economic development and improves general livability and sustainability. The Oregon Department of Transportation recently released a 2010 Oregon Rail Study, which analyzes freight and passenger rail capabilities and challenges throughout the state. As population increases and freight demand grows, investments in both passenger and freight rail are integral to advance the Oregon Transportation Plan’s vision of a transportation system that supports people, places and the economy.
OBA supports the formulation and funding of a statewide rail funding taskforce, charged with looking at different funding options with regard to passenger and freight rail.
OBA will work with its partners and participate in ODOT’s public process as the agency outlines rail recommendations and priorities moving forward in furtherance of addressing the challenges identified in its Oregon Rail Study.
2012 Committee Schedule: Third Thursdays, Noon – 1:30
OBA Staff Contact: Kelly O’Brien