Schrader Champions Infrastructure Bill, Includes District Priorities to Keep Oregon Moving
Today, Congressman Kurt Schrader supported and applauded the passage of the INVEST in America Act. The landmark five-year, $715 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill will bring the country’s aging infrastructure into the 21st century by:
The legislation also includes a key priority for Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District – the Interstate 5 Aurora-Donald Interchange Project. Congressman Schrader had recently announced the critical project was approved for $20 million through the INVEST in America Act as a Member Designated Project (MDP). He has long-supported ODOT’s efforts to turn the old, undersized and accident-plagued stretch into a modern interchange that can support its increased traffic and freight levels. With the House passage of the bill today, this vital lifeline for North Marion County and Western Clackamas County can now move toward the final stages of becoming a reality.
“Passing the INVEST in America Act is both a big with for our country, and for Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District,” Rep. Schrader said. “I support the bill because it makes serious investments in modernizing the country’s existing infrastructure, while also tailoring to meet community-specific needs, like we see with the Aurora-Donald Interchange Project. There’s been a huge state and local effort to get this priority funded. With the funds allocated through this legislation, they are getting the final push they need to get this project online and keep Oregon moving.”
“The I-5 Aurora-Donald Interchange has grown increasingly unsafe and congested in recent years as the number of vehicles using it— particularly trucks —have grown,” said Kris Strickler, ODOT Director. “While we have plans to fix the interchange, we’re short on funding to complete the project. With the $20 million Congressman Schrader was able to include in the INVEST Act, ODOT will be able to build the entire project, delivering a safer interchange for everyone traveling through it.”
The INVEST in America Act also passed with an amendment sponsored by Congressman Schrader, aimed at prioritizing seismic resiliency in highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects. This amendment helps gear investments toward these seismic resiliency projects, which are often more expensive and receive little financial support at the federal level, better compete for funding approval.
An example of a project that could benefit from this amendment includes the I-205 Improvements Project, which is seeking to make the Abernathy Bridge between Oregon City and West Linn the first earthquake-ready interstate structure across the Willamette River. This would make I-205 passable on the north-south route through the Portland region following a major earthquake.
“Having my seismic bridge amendment included in the INVEST in America Act will help keep the West Coast safe, as well as other areas around the country facing earthquake threats,” Rep. Schrader said. “Oregon needs to have resilient bridges that can withstand a major Cascadia quake, and helping these retrofit projects get national support and funding to come online will give our communities a lifeline, so we can get first responders and supplies to Oregonians who need help most should disaster strike.”
“Hundreds of aging bridges across western Oregon are vulnerable to a major earthquake,” ODOT Director Strickler added. “ODOT has a plan to make our bridges earthquake ready to prevent loss of life and help us move critical supplies after this disaster, but it will take us decades to get to them all. Congressman Schrader’s work is a step toward ensuring strong federal partnership in replacing and fixing bridges so we can be ready when the Big One hits.”