Merkley, Wyden Announce Over $11 Million for Oregon Projects to Strengthen Transportation and Infrastructure Resilience to Climate Chaos

Gorge County Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announce today the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is sending a total of $11,434,048 to the state through the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) grant program. The investments will support two projects led by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Lane Council of Governments working to strengthen transportation and infrastructure resiliency to face extreme weather events fueled by climate chaos.

 “As climate chaos intensifies, we are seeing the immense strain extreme weather events—from increasingly devastating wildfires to historic flooding— have on our aging transportation systems and the communities and businesses that rely on them,” Merkley said. “This first-of-its-kind federal funding program is key to making our roads and bridges safer, more efficient, and climate-focused so they can meet these challenges and keep Oregonians and goods moving.”

“Oregonians know all too well how the climate crisis can pound communities in the form of wildfires, floods, extreme temperatures and more,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I worked to pass reflects the urgent need to respond by investing in updates to means of transportation so people and goods can get from point A to point B dependably and safely.” 

The two PROTECT grants coming to Oregon are as follows:

  1. $6,100,000 for ODOT to replace an existing culvert under Highway 101 with a new bridge over Butte Creek that will better handle the effects of flooding and rising sea levels. Located between Tillamook and Lincoln City, the project also will include a new stream-crossing feature to allow unrestricted migration of native migratory fish. 
  2. $5,334,048 for the Lane Council of Governments to complete a Resilience Improvement Plan that evaluates and addresses the vulnerabilities of the area’s multimodal transportation network to weather-related hazards and emergencies. The geographic focus of the project includes the cities of Eugene, Springfield, and Coburg in the Willamette Valley.

This important grant funding will help preserve a key lifeline route by making US 101 more resilient to flooding events and sea level rise,” said ODOT Director Kris Strickler. “This funding will allow ODOT to replace the Butte Creek culvert, which will benefit coastal communities and native fish populations alike. We appreciate Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden’s support of this investment in the resilience of our transportation system.”

“The Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), in partnership with Lane County, is excited to receive PROTECT funding to support Resilient Lane, an equity-focused, data-driven planning effort to understand and address the surface transportation network’s vulnerability to hazards in Lane County. This work will result in a county-wide Resilience Improvement Plan to be implemented via a prioritized resilience project list with the top prioritized projects developed to the 30% design level. LCOG looks forward to engaging the Tribes, stakeholder groups, and the public throughout the project to help set priorities, add valuable qualitative input, and help refine project outcomes,” said Paul Thompson, Central Lane MPO Manager, Lane Council of Governments.

The two projects for Oregon are part of 80 projects across the nation funded through the PROTECT program, which is investing $830 million across four different grant types to help states and local communities save taxpayers money while strengthening surface-transportation systems and making them more resilient to extreme weather events worsened by the climate crisis, flooding, sea-level rise, heat waves, and other disasters. These grants from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are the first of their kind dedicated to transportation infrastructure resilience.

For a full list of PROTECT projects receiving funding, and to learn more about the impact of the program, click HERE.

y Media