Wyden, Merkley Bring Much Needed Transportation Funds to Portland and the Willamette Valley

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 includes nearly $250 million for Oregon projects including $81.6 million for the Portland Mall Light Rail Project and $45 million for the Portland Streetcar Loop Project.  These funds are part of the annual funding for Fiscal Year 2009, and will complement the funding provided through the economic recovery legislation last month to create jobs through new investments in roads, bridges, water projects, and other infrastructure.

“The economic investment included in this bill will go a long way to improve both the way the people of Portland and the Willamette Valley get around and the economic recovery our entire nation needs,” Wyden said. “Historically, private money often follows public money. By improving our infrastructure now, we are inviting businesses and people to come and invest in our state.”

“Family wage jobs in Portland and the Willamette Valley will spring from this investment in transportation and job training,” Merkley said.  “An efficient transportation system coupled with a well-trained workforce are key ingredients to build a healthy Oregon economy.”

With the approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill will now be sent to the President for his signature.


The 2009 Omnibus appropriations bill contains $81.6 million for the South Corridor I-205/ Portland Mall Light Rail Project that will add 8.3 miles to the current system, connecting downtown Portland with Clackamas Regional Center and points in-between, including new stations and additional park-and-ride spaces.


An additional $45 million is included for the final engineering and construction of the Portland Streetcar Loop Project, a 3.35 mile extension of the Portland Streetcar that will extend service to many more Portlanders and enhance public transportation on the eastside of Portland. The money will connect the Lloyd District, the Central Eastside and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with the current system running from Northwest Portland through downtown to RiverPlace and the South Waterfront

Some of the Oregon projects included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill are:

·         Wood Utilization Research (WUR) Center at OSU- $4,545,000 for the WUR Program, which provides innovative science, technology and advanced business practices research and graduate education.  Funds will support new initiatives in the development of bio-products, composite materials, bio-based energy and nanotechnology that can help position Oregon to be a leader in these fields in the Western US and enhance competitiveness of domestic industry.

·         West Eugene EMX Extension Environmental Analysis  $475,000 to pay for the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including preliminary engineering.

·         Columbia River Gorge Land Acquisition- $2,000,000 to purchase land in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area from willing sellers.

·         Oregon Solar Highway $951,500 to fund ODOT’s Solar Highway initiative which hopes to demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaic technology along highways.

·         Salem-Keizer Transit Bus & Bus Facilities- $457,000 to link local community routes with each other as well as frequent high-capacity buses serving downtown Salem.

·         Highway 217: Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy to Allen Blvd  $475,000 for preliminary engineering for constructing braided ramps on Highway. 217: Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.

·         Columbia River Crossing- $3,325,000 for preliminary planning and design of a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver.

·         Interstate-5 to Highway 99-W Connector- $1,852,500 for design, environmental impact statement preparation and right-of-way acquisition. The project calls for a new limited-access expressway.

·         Newberg-Dundee Transportation improvement project- $237,500 toward the land acquisition and construction of two Transit Malls within Yamhill County and the replacement of vehicles for our very aging fleet.

·         Vernonia Substation- $475,000 to construct a distribution substation to restore electrical service to the residents of Vernonia, who were hit by massive flooding last winter.

·         Affordable Housing for Veterans- $370,500 for the Tamarack, the first affordable housing project in the North Macadam Urban Renewal (South Waterfront). It is a 210-unit project of low-income housing with street level commercial space. 

·         Hillsboro Intermodal Transit Facility- $1,852,500 for students, faculty, patients and staff of the Tuality Hospital, Pacific University, and Virginia Garcia Clinic Health and Education campus.

·         Family Justice Center- $300,000 to purchase equipment and technology for the center focusing on increasing domestic violence services for women and children, increase accountability for perpetrators of domestic violence, reduce crime, and reduce the number of domestic violence fatalities.

·         Veterans Outreach and Job Training Pilot Project- $381,000- To expand the Clackamas County  job training and employment services program to include veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

·         Vernonia School Equipment Replacement- $381,000- for the repair and replacement of equipment lost to severe flooding during storms in December 2007.

·         Grass Seed Cropping Systems for a Sustainable Agriculture- $313,000 for research into sustainable production of grass seed, a major Oregon export, aimed at addressing critical environmental and economic challenges including the phase-out of open-field burning.  The project covers Oregon, Idaho and Washington, with Oregon-based scientists typically receiving more than half of available funds.

For more information on appropriation projects in the Omnibus bill please visit www.wyden.senate.gov.