$195 million grant request for Hood River-White Salmon bridge receives federal delegation support

HOOD RIVER — On Monday, June 13, the Gorge region’s entire federal congressional delegation sent a letter to United State Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg expressing unanimous support for the Port of Hood River and Klickitat County’s joint grant application to help fund replacement of the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge.

Submitted in May, the grant application seeks $195 million from the FY2022 INFRA/MEGA/Rural Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant program. In the Notice of Funding Opportunity issued March 22, USDOT combined three major discretionary grant programs into one Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant opportunity to distribute $2.9 billion now available for major infrastructure projects as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The letter, signed by Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Reps. Cliff Bentz and Earl Blumenauer and Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler note that a successful award “will build on the nearly $100 million that has already been raised for this project, leveraging additional construction funding from a variety of sources.” Kevin Greenwood, the port’s bridge replacement project director, thanked Dan Mahr, field representative for Sen. Merkley for his work to coordinate the effort to gather signatures from the seven congressional offices.

The letter to Secretary Buttigieg highlights the work of the Bi-State Bridge Replacement Working Group, noting that both state legislatures have authorized the creation of a new Bi-State Bridge Authority that would own and maintain the new bridge.

Greenwood stressed the importance of the bi-state, bi-cameral, bi-partisan support for the project saying, “The practice of entities from both sides of the river working together and submitting joint applications with support from the congressional delegation is proving to be a successful strategy. The project had another joint application from the port and Klickitat County awarded last year as well that provided $5 million in funding from the BUILD program — the only successful application in both states.”

For more information or to read the letter, visit the Port of Hood River website at www.portofhoodriver.com.