Oregon Officials’ Statements on $600 Million Federal Award for Interstate Bridge Replacement Project

Wyden, Merkley, Kotek, Blumenauer, Bonamici and ODOT Director assess impact of funding for I-5 replacement bridge

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Gov. Tina Kotek, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici as well as the Oregon Department of Transportation issued the following statements about today’s $600 million award from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Interstate-5 Bridge replacement project.

“Today’s $600 million down payment on the federal investment needed for the Interstate Bridge is good news for freight traffic in Oregon and throughout the Northwest as well as helpful for commuters,” Wyden said. “Jobs and the Oregon economy are big winners with a modern interstate bridge. I’m all with seeing this vital project through to completion with the ongoing help of federal tax dollars and without any new tolling costs landing on Oregon motorists, many of whom are already battling to make ends meet. I also look forward to pressing ahead to pursue all available options to secure the federal investment needed for the Port of Coos Bay to achieve its innovative container terminal project, which has the power to change the economic future of the South Coast and our entire state.”

“What a historic day! The I-5 Bridge Replacement Project receiving a $600 million USDOT Mega Grant is not only a game changer for Oregonians who will soon have expanded transportation options to cross the Columbia River, but a huge win for our economy as the project will generate many good-paying union jobs,” Merkley said. “This federal funding secured through the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the result of intense bipartisan teamwork, and a huge step forward to realize a long-sought project that will boost seismic resiliency in the region and ensure safer, faster, and more reliable transportation for generations to come. I’ll also keep fighting for Coos Bay’s transformative container port project, which would be a huge win for the region and the nation.”

“This is a big moment for the Pacific Northwest and demonstrates the national significance of this effort,” Kotek said. “Replacing the Interstate Bridge is a critical infrastructure investment for our local communities, two states, and the entire West Coast. This project will help advance our goal of reducing emissions through a modern, multimodal bridge and will provide an infusion of federal funds to our region that will support local jobs and broader workforce opportunities.”

“This investment would not have happened without President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ strong commitment to rebuilding and renewing America,” Blumenauer said. “The I-5 bridge is a critical link for people and commerce and must be replaced to withstand a significant earthquake. It gets us a step closer to connecting Portland and Vancouver with light rail and safe pedestrian and cycling lanes – investments that will make a real difference for our climate.”

“The Interstate Bridge is an integral part of our regional economy and connects communities across the Columbia River,” said Bonamici. “I have long advocated for federal resources to update this bridge so it can provide a safe connection for commuters and transit well into the future. This funding is great news for the people of NW Oregon and our entire region.”

The $600 million for the Interstate Bridge project will go toward a seismically resilient replacement of the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River, connecting Vancouver, Washington to Portland, Oregon. The new bridge will include transit improvements such as additional light-rail transit service, enhanced zero-emission express bus service, and the expansion of active transportation networks.

“I am thrilled to see the strong federal support that this grant funding demonstrates,” said ODOT Director Kris Strickler. “It speaks to the ongoing partnership and collaborative nature throughout the region and builds upon the momentum of the Oregon and Washington Legislatures’ $1 billion commitments. This would not have been possible without the support from both our federal delegation and our local partners, which will ensure we have a safe, earthquake-resilient, and multimodal corridor that will benefit our region for decades into the future.”

A web version of this release is here.