Portland Mayor Charlie Hales says ending plans to build a new 1-5 bridge across the Columbia River may benefit other transportation projects that have been waiting for funding.
Hales says with the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) out of the way, he will ask the Oregon Legislature to work on a transportation funding bill next year, and take up a new list of priorities.
“There are people dying on Powell Boulevard because the intersections aren’t safe,” Hales said. “There are bridges that haven’t been seismically improved. Big things and small things; the Ross Island Bridge needs a paint job.”
Hales says he will focus in particular on securing funding for improvements to Portland streets that double as state highways.
In addition to Powell Boulevard, he mentioned Lombard Street, 82nd Avenue, Sandy Boulevard, and Barbur Boulevard. The mayor says he believes funding these projects and other deferred transportation needs across the state will require an increase in the gas tax or the state vehicle registration fee.
On Friday, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced it was shutting down the Columbia River Crossing project after both the Washington and Oregon Legislatures declined to continue funding it.
ODOT says as it starts to reduce contractors and staff it will create an archive for the CRC project “to adequately preserve a decade of research, environmental reviews, community involvement, and detailed engineering work for potential future use. “