Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that a total of $93,862,114 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds are headed to Oregon to meet the rising challenges of climate chaos. Funds are intended to address the growing costs of extreme weather events adversely impacting communities and fund resilient infrastructure projects benefiting every corner of the state.
The funds, along with new guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), create the new Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program. Eligible projects and states will have five years to make transportation infrastructure more resilient to future weather events and other natural disasters by focusing on resilience planning, making resilience improvements to existing transportation assets and evacuation routes, and addressing at-risk highway infrastructure.
“All you need to do is step outside into the broiling heat or smoke-filled skies to know that the climate crisis is here, threatening our communities – not in some theoretical future, but right now,” said Merkley. “The bipartisan infrastructure law makes critical investments to help our communities deal with the burdens climate-related disasters can put on our infrastructure. I’m glad to see some of those investments are coming home to Oregon today to create good jobs and stronger, more resilient infrastructure for Oregonians.”
“In this first week of August when Oregon communities are threatened by searing heat and tinder dry conditions from drought, there’s no question in our state that resiliency to the climate crisis is a must for smart investment in transportation infrastructure,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified the bipartisan infrastructure law I was proud to support contains these key investments to respond to extreme weather in Oregon. As I fight this week to pass my clean energy legislation that will generate U.S. jobs with bold incentives, the resources announced today will play a key role in protecting infrastructure in Oregon from the ravages of the climate crisis.”
Eligible resilience improvements can involve adapting existing transportation infrastructure or new construction to keep communities safe by bolstering infrastructure’s ability to withstand extreme weather events and other physical hazards that are becoming more common and intense. Eligible project choices may include the use of natural or green infrastructure to buffer future storm surges and provide flood protection, as well as aquatic ecosystem restoration. PROTECT projects can also help improve the resilience of transportation networks that serve traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities, particularly during natural disasters and evacuations.
PROTECT builds on other USDOT actions to address the climate crisis and that support the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. For more information about the new PROTECT Formula Program and guidance, please see FHWA’s website and fact sheet. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established both the PROTECT Formula and Discretionary Grant Programs. This guidance focuses on the PROTECT Formula Program.