Merkley, Wyden Announce Key Infrastructure Funding for Oregon

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced major investments in community infrastructure, ranging from roads and bridges to rural broadband.

“These direct investments in infrastructure are incredibly important to our communities,” Merkley said. “When we make smart choices, we can create good jobs now, and the infrastructure to support growth and prosperity into the future.”

“This legislation would invest much-needed resources in Oregon for roads, rail, mass transit, airports and ports,” Wyden said. “Supporting our public infrastructure with this smart and targeted approach stands in sharp contrast to Trump administration schemes that would gut these core investments to siphon cash from Main Street communities to Wall Street cronies.”    

TIGER Grants: The popular program, widely used by Oregon cities and counties, received $1.5 billion—a nearly 300% increase over last fiscal year—to provide grants for investments in roads, railways, transit systems, airports, and ports in order to improve the transportation infrastructure and economy of the United States.

Capital Investment Grant Programs: The program received more than $2.5 billion for grants that fund major transit capital investments, including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit, such as Emerald Express line in Eugene, and the Milwaukie light rail in Portland.

Essential Air Service and Contract Towers: The program received more than $274 million to guarantee that small communities can be served by commercial air services, such as the small airport in Pendleton. Additionally, the bill funds FAA Contract Towers at $162 million. There are six contract towers throughout Oregon, and the funding ensures their continued operation in the coming year. 

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act: The program received an additional $63 million, which it can leverage as loans into another $6 billion to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure, by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for significant projects.

Transit Improvement Grants: The program received $9.73 billion, including $1.147 billion for Bus and Bus Facilities Grants to help transit agencies purchase new buses and replace aging fleets, in particular transitioning to new low- or no-emission vehicles. Transit agencies in Oregon cities, including Eugene, Salem and Portland, are leading on this transition.

FAST Act: The bill funds key rail programs authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, including $592 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants, and $250 million for Partnership for State of Good Repair, which support capital investment and maintenance projects for Amtrak routes.