Office of the House Speaker
900 Court St., N.E., Room H-269
Salem OR 97301
February 25, 2013
Jared Mason-Gere (503) 986-1204
Economic Development Efforts move forward with House passage of I-5 Bridge Replacement Project
SALEM- The Oregon House of Representatives moved the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project one step closer to reality today, passing HB 2800 on a bipartisan 45-11 vote, with four excused.
“After a decade of study and planning, the Legislature is finally forging ahead on this important jobs and economic development bill,” said House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland). “This project will improve the safety of the bridge, and ensure we can move the goods and services our economy relies on to thrive. I’m proud of this bipartisan effort to pass a prudent, thoughtful, practical bill that will keep the project moving forward.”
The amended version of HB 2800 includes provisions to spur job growth by supporting local small businesses, including businesses owned by minorities and women. A number of “buy America” requirements are also included, that will ensure goods manufactured in the United States are used to construct the bridge.
Funding for the bridge for the next two years will come from existing funds in the Oregon Department of Transportation Budget. Legislators placed a number of sideboards on the project so that bonds to finance the bridge construction will only be sold when a specific set of criteria are met. Those criteria include commitments from Washington State and the Federal Government to pay for their fair share of the project, and the completion of an investment grade analysis by the State Treasurer.
Legislators from both parties discussed the prudent approach to funding the project and the importance of replacing the bridge to both create jobs in the short term and strengthen the economy in the long term.
“Investment, by all of us, in this machinery of commerce is essential if Oregon- all of Oregon- is to successfully compete on a national and international scale,” said Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario), who served as House Co-chair of the Joint I-5 Bridge Replacement Committee along with Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton).
“We must act decisively and responsibly to seize the opportunity before us. This window will not remain open forever,” said Read.
“That's why this bill is such a carefully crafted balance. It sends the signal that Oregon is ready to move forward with this pivotal project, while protecting taxpayers with triggers and safeguards to ensure we don’t overcommit while moving forward with our state and federal partners.”
HB 2800 now moves to the Oregon Senate.