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Transportation archive

Transportation issue archive

Metro and TriMet continue plan for Bus Rapid Transit line

Metro and TriMet are continuing to plan for a new bus rapid transit (BRT) line that would connect downtown Portland with Gresham, running along Division Street. The agencies are considering bridge crossing options that include the Hawthorne Bridge and the Tilikum Crossing. The Alliance provided Metro and TriMet with a list of criteria they should consider in evaluating crossing options, including travel time and reliability, cost differences, congestion impacts, capacity and economic development opportunities. Read the letter.
(October 2016)

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PBOT proposes two-step Transportation Demand Management program

A two-step transportation demand management (TDM) program is being proposed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) as a part of the Central City 2035 Plan and Mixed-Use Zones Project. Step one of the program is intended to be a “basic” program that would assess a fee of $1,100/unit on new residential development and $2,400/ksf on new nonresidential development to provide education and financial incentives to new residents and employees. The amount would be assessed one time and up front when applying for a building permit. Step two will include work with an advocacy group to provide a more tailored program. The Alliance is compiling developer concerns and recommendations to ensure that this proposal does not discourage new construction.
(June 2016)

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Alliance encourages investment in regionally significant transportation projects

The Alliance has been working with partners to encourage the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) to allocate funding for project development on significant transportation bottlenecks in the region. JPACT, comprised of regional elected officials and transportation providers, allocates federal funds that flow through the region every three years. The region currently does not have large-scale projects that are ready to be competitive for federal grants and other future funding opportunities. Directing dollars to these efforts now in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will help the region position itself to fund projects that will improve the function of the transportation system and have a beneficial economic impact, as shown in the Value of Jobs 2015 Economic Cost of Congestion report. Read the letter.
(April 2016)

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Alliance supports city of Portland gas tax

The Alliance expressed its support for the city of Portland’s four-year, 10-cent local gas tax that has been referred to voters for the May 2016 election. The funds will go toward transportation safety and maintenance. The Alliance supports this revenue mechanism because it is user-based; has low administrative overhead; requires voter approval; cannot be diverted to other uses per the Oregon constitution and won’t inflate annually. The Alliance has long supported a well-maintained and safe transportation system to move goods and people; without additional investment in maintenance, fixing the city’s streets will be exponentially more expensive as things deteriorate further. Read the release.
(March 2016)

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Alliance offers conditional support of Portland's gas tax proposal

The Alliance offered its conditional support for Commissioner Steve Novick’s proposed gas tax. The proposal is a four-year, 10-cent-a-gallon local gas tax to raise approximately $16 million per year in additional revenue for street maintenance and safety projects, and includes an oversight committee to monitor implementation. The proposed project list directs approximately 56 percent of the funding for paving maintenance and 46 percent for safety-related projects. The Alliance is prepared to support a 10-cent local gas tax, with the following caveats:

  • The new revenues from the city gas tax must be additive to those already dedicated to maintenance;
  • The city should dedicate additional ongoing city revenues to supplement any new gas tax revenue;
  • No additional taxes or fees should be assessed on this user group during the four-year period;
  • Vehicle road capacity should be maintained, particularly to ensure the flow of commerce into and through downtown and freight districts and corridors.

Read the letter.
(January 2016)

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Alliance weighs in on street closures for World Indoor Track and Field Championships

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is proposing a number of street closures around Pioneer Courthouse Square for the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in March of 2016. The Alliance expressed concern about potential business impact as a result of the street closures and requested the following measures: scale back length of closures, hire organized traffic management, do positive public outreach regarding closures, utilize sidewalk management tools such as High Pedestrian Zones, use private parking garages in addition to SmartPark garages, promote downtown businesses and plan for additional restrooms.
(January 2016)

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Alliance expresses concern over possible elimination of PDX's direct flight to Asia

The Alliance signed on to a letter with Presidents of Oregon’s four major business associations to express concern over possible discussions between the U.S. Government and the Government of Japan that would result in the elimination of Oregon’s only direct flight to Asia. The Government of Japan’s proposed changes would undermine Delta’s ability to maintain its hub at Narita International Airport. Direct access to Asia is critical for Oregon’s international trade activity, which is a cornerstone of the Oregon economy and supports one-quarter of the state’s manufacturing jobs. The Alliance is urging the Oregon Federal Delegation to push U.S. negotiators to insist that Japan provide enough slots to allow Delta to remain competitive in its efforts to operate U.S. to Tokyo flights.
(January 2016)

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Alliance urges city of Portland to adopt private-for-hire final recommendations

The city of Portland’s Private-For-Hire Innovation Task Force, which included a representative of the Alliance, submitted its final recommended regulations for transportation network companies (TNC), such as Lyft and Uber. Portland City Council voted 3-2 to approve the final regulations. The Task Force recommended accommodating innovative and emerging industries such as TNCs and achieve parity between TNCs and the taxi industry while recognizing a few areas, such as insurance requirements, where the regulations vary due to inherent differences in the transportation models. Read the letter.
(December 2015)

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Alliance weighs in on latest street funding concept

Responding to a question from Portland Commissioner Steve Novick, the Alliance communicated its position on using a municipal gas tax to fund the maintenance backlog on the city’s road network. The Alliance is open to a discussion about a gas tax or other user-based revenue mechanisms, but its support will rely on whether or not our previously adopted principles are included. The Alliance continues to urge the city to also identify more of its own financial resources that can be used for maintenance and safety projects and that the maintenance backlog should be the highest priority for spending additional revenues. Lastly, the new revenues should be additive to funds already spend on street maintenance and safety, and reserved for that purpose. The Alliance will continue to stay engaged in the street funding discussion and advocate for a user-based revenue mechanism. Read the letter.
(September 2015)

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City of Portland authorizes operations for companies like Uber and Lyft

On April 21, Portland City Council voted 3-2 to allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to begin operating in the city during the initial 120-day pilot. The Alliance is participating on the city of Portland’s Private For-Hire Task Force, which is charged with reviewing antiquated taxi cab regulations and the evolution of the private-for-hire industry, including the entry of TNCs. The Task Force’s Phase I recommendations on fares, background checks, insurance, equity and inclusion were presented to City Council and formed the basis for the council’s decision. The Alliance will continue to participate on the Task Force during Phase II, which will review the data collected during the initial 120-day pilot, and make final recommendations to council in July 2015.
(April 2015)

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Alliance provides input on TriMet’s Future of Transit Project

While the Alliance has not taken a position on the payroll tax to fund projects identified in TriMet’s Future of Transit Project, it provided general input regarding the future of the region’s transit system. The Alliance is advocating for TriMet’s Future of Transit Project to give priority to improving connection to employment and commercial centers that would increase access to jobs, educational opportunities and services. Specifically, the Alliance said downtown should remain a focus point for transit lines and, in addition to downtown, access to other areas with high concentrations of employment such as industrial lands should be prioritized. The Alliance also urged TriMet to coordinate with local jurisdictions to align plans, streamline resources, alleviate congestion and better understand where business, employment and housing growth is likely to occur in order to determine where additional transit capacity is needed. Read the letter.
(February 2015)

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Alliance comments on city of Portland’s future transportation investments  

The city of Portland is working on updating its Transportation System Plan (TSP) as part of its Comprehensive Plan. The TSP will guide future transportation infrastructure investments over the next 20 years. The Alliance is advocating for the plan to reflect the importance of a strong and efficient multi-modal transportation system for a prosperous economy. The Alliance also said the plan should prioritize projects that have the greatest return for the least investment, address disproportionate funding levels among modes and eliminate the bias toward active transportation, and include freight infrastructure and access to industrial lands for middle-income jobs. Read the testimony and the letter.
(February 2015)

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Alliance participates in Private-for-Hire Innovation Task Force

The city of Portland convened a task force to review and evaluate the service performance and regulatory framework of Portland’s private for-hire transportation industry. Alliance staff is participating on the task force, which will provide guidance and recommendations to Portland City Council regarding new developments in the industry, including the entry of “Transportation Network Companies” such as Uber and Lyft. The first meeting was held in January and the task force will meet during the next six months.
(February 2015)

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Study reveals impact of road congestion on state's economy and jobs

On Jan. 6, a coalition of business and civic leaders released an update to a 2005 Cost of Congestion report, revealing that Oregon’s future economic competitiveness and job growth are heavily reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system.
The 2015 report analyzes the state’s dependence on a reliable transportation system to move goods, ensure access to labor and increase productivity. It highlights that additional transportation investment is needed to maintain Oregon’s ability to remain competitive in a global economy.
This report identifies the current economic foundation of the state and examines how congestion and transportation barriers affect Oregon’s economy, jobs and productivity. It also analyzes the impact of increased transportation investment on the state’s economy and jobs. Key report findings include:

  • Additional transportation investments would generate 8,300 jobs, $1.1 billion in benefits, and a $2.40 return for every $1 of investment, by 2040.
  • More than 346,000 jobs were transportation-related and transportation-dependent in Oregon in 2013.
  • $300 billion worth of goods moved in Oregon on all modes of transportation in 2012.
  • By 2040, the average Portland-metro household will experience nearly 70 hours of congestion annually, equating to nearly two weeks of time spent sitting in traffic.
  • $920 million of Oregon annual economic output/sales would generated by businesses as a result of an improved transportation system by 2040.

View the full report online at
(January 2015)

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Portland Street Fund on hold

Mayor Charlie Hales has delayed plans to hold a non-binding advisory vote in May to learn voter preferences regarding revenue options for the proposed Street Fund, following meetings with Governor John Kitzhaber and Speaker Tina Kotek. The governor and speaker informed the mayor and Commissioner Steve Novick that a statewide transportation package would be a top priority in the 2015 legislative session, and the mayor decided to call off the advisory election to give the Legislature time to act. Earlier, the city had backed away from the last Street Fund residential funding proposal after it became clear there was not sufficient support for it on City Council. A new advisory election date has not been set.
(January 2015)

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Value of Jobs Coalition releases update to Cost of Congestion report

In partnership with the Value of Jobs Coalition, the Alliance and the Port of Portland released an update to a 2005 Cost of Congestion report. The study analyzes the state’s dependence on a reliable transportation system to move goods, ensure access to labor and increase productivity. The new report highlights that additional transportation investment is needed to maintain Oregon’s ability to remain competitive in a global economy. This report identifies the current economic foundation of the state and examines how congestion and transportation barriers affect Oregon’s economy, jobs and productivity. It also analyzes the impact of increased transportation investment on the state’s economy and jobs. Key report findings include:

  • Additional transportation investments would generate 8,300 jobs, $1.1 billion in benefits, and a $2.40 return for every $1 of investment, by 2040.
  • More than 346,000 jobs were transportation related and transportation dependent in Oregon in 2013.
  • $300 billion worth of goods were moved in Oregon on all modes of transportation in 2012.
  • By 2040, the average Portland-metro household will experience nearly 70 hours of congestion annually, equating to nearly two weeks of time spent sitting in traffic.
  • $920 million of annual economic output/sales would be generated by businesses in Oregon by 2040 as a result of an improved transportation system.   

Read the full report at
(January 2015)

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Alliance to release updated Cost of Congestion report at Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit

On January 6, the Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit will bring together more than 1,000 Oregon business, civic and elected leaders to address the state’s top economic issues and opportunities. In the segment of the program devoted to infrastructure, the Alliance will release an update to its groundbreaking report released in 2005 on the real costs of increased road traffic to businesses in Oregon. The report will help shape a transportation package in the upcoming 2015 legislative session. Other segments of the summit will feature the Oregon Business Plan’s top three priorities this year, including connecting education to careers and skilled job openings going unfilled in Oregon; strengthening rural economies by capitalizing on Oregon's unique advantages in food and forest products; and investing in infrastructure that allows our communities and businesses to prosper and connect with the global marketplace. More information and registration.
(December 2014)

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Alliance opposes income tax in city of Portland street fund proposal

The Alliance continues to stay engaged in the city of Portland’s proposal to raise new funds for street maintenance, urging leaders to adopt a plan that does not include a new, city-only personal income tax.

Throughout this discussion, the Alliance has said it is willing to work with the city on a revenue proposal, but the organization has strongly opposed creation of a personal income tax as the residential funding mechanism in the expected street-maintenance ordinance. If the city moves forward with a personal income tax proposal, the Alliance has maintained that there should be a public vote to approve it. The Alliance and its business partners commissioned a public opinion poll which found that 77 percent of Portland voters also believe that an unprecedented personal income tax in the city of Portland should be voted on.

In terms of revenue from the business community, the Alliance has indicated it is generally ok with the proposed business fee schedule, although it has advocated for more relief for small business owners and clarification of other issues. Finally, the Alliance has told city leaders the fee schedule and the intended use of the new revenues should be locked down in the Portland City Charter, and voters should have the opportunity to determine if the program should be renewed in six years.

The Alliance board and staff leadership have been in regular communications with Mayor Charlie Hales and other Council leaders, and it now appears they are moving toward developing a fee-based proposal rather than an income tax. A vote on the final plan has been postponed until January 14, 2015, with a first reading expected on January 7, 2015. The Alliance will remain active on this issue until it is resolved. Read the Alliance President & CEO’s blog post for more about its position on the issue.
(December 2014)

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Alliance makes recommendations in city of Portland Transportation System Plan

The Alliance’s Transportation Committee heard from Portland Bureau of Transportation staff about their Transportation System Plan (TSP) Update and project selection criteria. The TSP prioritizes transportation projects for investment and informs transportation policies in the city of Portland’s comprehensive plan. A subcommittee was created to review the project selection criteria, and it has made several recommendations for improvement, including the need to include freight criteria that would prioritize freight. The Alliance testified before the Planning and Sustainability Commission about concerns over the pervasive bias toward active transportation and the lack of consideration of freight and the efficient movement of goods in the TSP and the comprehensive plan.
(December 2014)

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Alliance urges Portland City Council to alter elements of Portland Street Fund proposal

On November 10, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick released their Portland Street Fund proposal, which aims to raise revenue for paving maintenance and safety of our roads. While the proposed business fee is far better than the plan issued last spring, the overall package falls short of several criteria established by the Alliance at the beginning of this discussion. Specifically, the proposal includes a new personal income tax, has no sunset and devotes insufficient revenues to paving maintenance. The Alliance testified in opposition to the package at Portland City Council last Thursday and has informed the mayor that if a referral emerges, the Alliance will be part of that effort if the package does not change. For more information about the Alliance’s concerns, read the President & CEO’s blog. 

CALL TO ACTION: If your business operates in the city of Portland, and/or if you live here, please contact members of council with your thoughts around this proposal. Please tell them that creating a brand new personal income tax in the city of Portland is a major proposal that should have voter review before it is implemented: 

Mayor Charlie Hales |
Commissioner Steve Novick |
Commissioner Amanda Fritz |
Commissioner Nick Fish |
Commissioner Dan Saltzman |
‚Äč(November 2014)

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Alliance advocates for multi-modal transportation planning in city of Portland

In comments about the city of Portland’s Transportation Plan and the proposed Comprehensive Plan, the Alliance has advocated for ensuring the plan to adequately and objectively considers all modes of transportation, including freight, auto, bicycle and transit. Currently, auto- and freight-oriented projects are only eligible for two of the nine proposed criteria that will be used to evaluate specific projects. The Alliance also recommends adding transportation project selection criteria related to improving the economy, managing congestion and traffic flows, evaluating the number of people benefitted or affected by a project and minimizing projects that reduce capacity of the existing system. Read the letter. 
(November 2014)

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Alliance successfully negotiates new fee structure for business transportation user fee; raises concerns with a proposed residential income tax

The Alliance has been participating on the city’s transportation user fee business work group to refine the proposal, successfully advocating for a new fee structure that is significantly lower than what would have originally been imposed on business. Under the new iteration, the amount businesses will pay is significantly reduced, ranging from $2.50 to $120 per month. (A final proposal has not yet been sent to City Council). In addition, the Alliance is advocating for prioritizing revenues to reduce the $91 million backlog in paving projects, a defined project list, a six-year sunset clause, and a dedicated transportation fund to ensure that the revenue raised will be used for its original and intended purpose and not used to fund other priorities outside of the original scope. 

There is, however, consideration for a progressive income tax on the residential side, with high income earners potentially paying up to $200/month (other proposals include caps of $20/month or $100/month).  An income tax based approach for the residential portion also means state and federal retirement income, such as PERS, will not be taxed.  The Alliance continues to raise concerns about such a proposal as the transportation system has always been paid for through user fees, such as the residential fee originally proposed by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick. The Alliance continues to engage with the city in direct negotiations and will advocate for our identified priorities. Read the Alliance’s communications with Portland City Council regarding the transportation user fee.
(October 2014)

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Alliance advocates for less impact on businesses in transportation user fee proposal

The Alliance has been involved in discussions regarding a revamped city of Portland transportation fee proposal. The Alliance is advocating for limiting the impact of a new fee on businesses, and is also asking for a sunset clause, a focus on deferred street paving and prioritized project lists. Significant progress has been made over the last few months, including a new mechanism for the nonresidential fee that substantially reduces the monthly impact on businesses. The nonresidential fee structure has changed to a per entity fee based on the type and size of business. Under the most recent proposals, the monthly impact for businesses has gone from potentially thousands to a range of $2.50 to $120. As additional details continue to be negotiated, the Alliance will urge for assessments for both businesses and residents, as well as additional accountability mechanisms.
(September 2014)

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Alliance plays key role in city’s revamp of a proposed transportation user fee

Earlier this summer, the Alliance played a key role in encouraging city council to slow down on a proposal to create a new fee to raise $53 million to fund street maintenance and safety work. After delaying any street fee vote until November, the city created a business work group and a low-income/institutional work group to refine the proposal. The Alliance is participating on the non-residential work group and is advocating for prioritized project lists, a sunset clause, a lesser amount to be raised, and other accountability mechanisms.

The city is exploring changes to the proposed transportation user fee to take into account the issues the Alliance and others are raising. In addition, a new mechanism is being explored that would significantly reduce the monthly impact of any new proposed fee for businesses.
(August 2014)

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Alliance plays key role in city’s decision to postpone transportation user fee vote

The Alliance has played a key role in encouraging City Council to slow down on a proposal to create a new fee to fund street maintenance and safety work. After originally proposing to vote on the new fee in early June, just weeks after the details were made public, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick announced that they would postpone final action on the new $50 million fee program until November to get more public input. The Alliance is also encouraging City Council to slow down with the proposed city charter amendment so that it can be considered as part of an overall package. The Alliance believes this significant and complex new fee deserves more of a conversation, and it is premature to constrain the use of funds that have yet to be created as proposed in the charter amendment. The Alliance has been consistent in its support of the goal of well-maintained and safe streets and has offered to work cooperatively with the city and other stakeholders to determine the need, how and by what amount additional revenue is raised, and the detail of how the funds will be spent. Read the letter.

City Council is hosting a Town Hall meeting to discuss the non-residential portion of the transportation fee proposal Wednesday, June 24, at 8 a.m. at Venture Portland, 1125 SE Madison St., Suite 112. They will host a second Town Hall meeting which will address the fee more generally on Wednesday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente, 3704 N Interstate Ave. Alliance members are encouraged to attend to ask questions and speak about their concerns with the proposal.
(June 2014)

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City proposes street maintenance fee; Alliance urges for process to slow down

Under the leadership of Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is proposing a street maintenance fee for both businesses and residents to raise revenue for transportation projects. PBOT is considering two different fee scenarios for households, and an estimated fee structure for different types of businesses and the number of trips they are estimated to generate, a standard used by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick indicated they may bring the plan to city council for a vote as early as June. The Alliance has several questions about the potential new fee, and is urging the city to slow down to allow for broader public discussion about a potential new cost to Portland residents.  The Alliance has convened a task force to look further into the issue. More information about the city's proposed street fee.
(May 2014)

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Alliance advocates for federal investment in transportation infrastructure projects

The Alliance is advocating for a proposal led by Transportation for America, a nation-wide transportation advocacy group, to raise $30 billion to restore the Federal Highway Trust fund and support other transportation programs that spur innovation and promote local control. There are variety of funding options considered in the proposal, including increasing the federal gas tax; replacing the existing per-gallon tax with a sales tax; introducing a fee on oil barrel purchases and adding a sales tax to fuel purchases. The Alliance also expressed support for Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s UPDATE Act as legislation that is consistent with this proposal. This investment is critical to improving the region’s transportation infrastructure and ensuring our long-term economic competitiveness and growth. Read the letter.

Alliance hosts Brookings Institution associate research fellow about trade and transportation infrastructure

The Alliance, Port of Portland and Women in Transportation (WTS) hosted a talk with Adie Tomer, senior research associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Institution this month. Adie presented about the impact of international trade and transportation infrastructure on economic development in metro regions. View Adie’s presentation.
(April 2014)

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Alliance advocates for funding for City of Portland transportation projects

As the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) begins the 2014/15 budget development process, the Alliance is urging PBOT to support two related special appropriation requests. The first request is for $650,000 per year for two years to help fund preparation of a Draft Environment Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Southwest Corridor High Capacity Transit Project. The second is for $100,000 to be allocated to Portland Export and Freight Strategy Implementation. Both of these projects will help support transportation infrastructure, a key part of a strong and robust economy. Read the letter.
(April 2014)

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Alliance President & CEO testifies before Oregon Legislature in support of I-5 Bridge/Columbia River Crossing

Alliance President & CEO Sandra McDonough testified before the House Committee of Transportation and Economic Development at a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 12 advocating for the Oregon-led option of the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project/Columbia River Crossing. For more information about why the business community is in favor of building the bridge, read the testimony.
(February 2014)

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I-5 Bridge/Columbia River Crossing Investment Grade Analysis released

The Oregon Department of Transportation released its Investment Grade Analysis on financing for the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project/Columbia River Crossing. The analysis provided some good news and showed that the toll revenue is more than sufficient to finance construction of the bridge. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee held an informational hearing last week to answer remaining questions regarding tolling and traffic impacts on Interstate 205. The project is expected to go before the full Legislature for a vote in the February session. 

Now is the time to tell voice support this project. You can send a letter at
(January 2014)

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Oregon legislative leaders list I-5 Bridge Replacement Project as top priority

Last week at the Oregon Leadership Summit, Governor John Kitzhaber and other legislative leaders including House Speaker Tina Kotek, Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli and House Republican Leader Mike McLane listed the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project as one of the top priorities for the 2014 legislative session. Senate President Peter Courtney has agreed to hold a special hearing in January that would provide the outline for an Oregon-led, bi-state project and frame the changes necessary to existing law to allow the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to move forward with an Oregon-led project. An investment grade analysis of the project’s finances is expected to be completed by State Treasurer Ted Wheeler in January.  Assuming that analysis is positive, the project will then have met all the criteria necessary for a legislative decision on whether to move forward with an Oregon-led project to secure federal funding.  The Federal Transit Administration recently confirmed that $800 million in light rail construction funds are still available for the project unless another project claims the funding before the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project moves forward.
(December 2013)

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I-5 Bridge Replacement Project likely delayed until February 2014 session

Legislative leaders have indicated that the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project (also referred to as the Columbia River Crossing) will likely be addressed in the February 2014 session.  Federal officials have indicated that they are still committed to the project and will hold the $800 million in federal funds for the project for as long as possible.  The Alliance is continuing to work with partners to advocate for moving the project forward.
(November 2013)

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Good news for I-5 Bridge Replacement Project, phased approach gets key sign-offs

During the past month, the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project (also referred to as the Columbia River Crossing) received a number of key sign-offs to keep the phased approach moving forward. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration both issued letters indicating the project would not need to go through a lengthy and costly redo of its environmental impact statement.  After the State of Washington’s decision not to approve funding for the project, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber directed his transportation staff to analyze the possibility of phasing the project, moving forward with the bridge, light rail and Oregon interchanges and placing the Washington improvements in a later phase.  The federal approvals mean this phased approach can move forward.

In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a permit for the project, a critical step on the federal approval process.  The permit clears the way for the project to apply for an $800 million grant for the construction of the light rail and a federal loan program to construct the bridge.

The Clark County Washington transit authority C-Tran approved a measure outlining how transit agency will address the construction, operation and maintenance of the light rail portion of the project.  The approval was necessary before the project could submit its application for federal transit construction funds.

In Oregon, I-5 Bridge project staff is working toward a set of hearings in the coming weeks in preparation for taking up the issue in Salem.  The Legislature must modify its previous approval of the project to reflect the Oregon-only approach for the project to become eligible for federal funding.  While federal officials have assured the project that it is on the top of their list for funding, other projects are also competing for those dollars and it’s important for Oregon to quickly approve state matching dollars to ensure the federal resources aren’t lost to another region.
(October 2013)

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Alliance expresses concern over city’s proposed SW Barbur Blvd. “road diet” project

The Alliance expressed its concern regarding the city of Portland’s proposed “road diet” project impacting SW Barbur Blvd. The project would eliminate one auto lane on SW Barbur Blvd. to accommodate buffered bike lanes and pedestrian pathways in each direction, ultimately serving fewer commuters and impacting not just Portland but also other municipalities served by Highway 99W. The Alliance raised these concerns in a letter to Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick, urging them to work with the State Department of Transportation (ODOT) to identify and fix specific areas that present safety concerns. The Alliance will continue to track this issue and advocate for a transportation project that supports our economic development potential and the region’s overall livability. Read the letter.
(October 2013)

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Alliance advocates for I-5 Bridge Replacement Project phased-option

The Alliance is working with the Columbia River Crossing Coalition to support the phased-option of the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project. Most recently, Washington Governor Jay Inslee endorsed the one-state project, giving the green light for Governor John Kitzhaber to do a thorough review of the plan’s feasibility. Governor Kitzhaber, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senator Bruce Starr are working toward a special legislative session to amend the Oregon authorization to allow an Oregon-only project to move forward. Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler is currently assessing the viability of Oregon issuing all of the debt for the project and receiving the toll revenue. The project also reached a mitigation agreement with the last of the three up-stream river users and has submitted its final Coast Guard permit application. The Alliance will continue to work with the coalition in advocating for this critical transportation project.  Read the press releaseSupport and follow the project on Facebook.
(September 2013)

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Washington Governor agrees to expedited review of revised Columbia River Crossing project

Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a letter September 4 agreeing to a request by the Portland Business Alliance and the Columbia River Crossing Coalition to conduct an expedited review of the revised I-5 bridge replacement project.  The review will examine a phased project that would construct the Oregon portion of the project and the bridge and light rail improvements in the first phase and defer the Washington improvements until a later time frame.
“Given the current situation, an Oregon-managed bi-state project merits further investigation and I’ve directed WSDOT to do a thorough review of its feasibility,” Gov. Inslee said in the letter.  “Everyone can agree that the problem has not gone away,” Inslee added, noting that, after 16 years of planning, engineering and public involvement, “it’s critical that we find a path to move forward and replace this bridge.” Read the letter.
The letter comes on the heels of an announcement this week that the project had reached a mitigation agreement with the last of the three up river businesses that would be impacted by the bridge. The agreement with Thompson Metal Fab allowed the project to submit its application to the US Coast Guard for a permit to construct the project.
(September 2013)

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Business leaders, community groups urge for phased approach to build I-5 bridge  

In coordination with the Columbia River Crossing Coalition (CRCC), the Alliance is urging both Governors Kitzhaber and Inslee to support a phased approach to the I-5 Bride Replacement Project. After Washington failed to commit their proposed $450 million share of the project, Governor Kitzhaber directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to examine what interchanges and other road improvements would still make sense to do.  This effort showed that improvements to the Oregon side of the bridge did not make financial sense without the crossing and a phased approach has since been discussed.  The coalition supports these efforts to explore all options to take advantage of the more than 10 years of work and investment of $175 million taxpayer dollars and build the bridge.

The coalition is advocating for this phased approach to complete the project, which includes replacing the bridge, connecting light rail, and improving Hayden Island and Marine Drive interchanges in Oregon. Washington roadway interchange improvements will be phased in when Washington funding becomes available. With an estimated cost of $2.75 billion, this phased option proposes allocating federal funds for light rail, bridge tolls for the replacement bridge and landings and improvements to Washington’s SR 14, and Oregon’s state funds would improve Oregon’s interchanges. This phased approach also fixes the bridge, takes advantage of work to date, responds to limited funds and does not require new taxes.

As the top transportation priority for the Alliance, this project is huge economic driver for the region as it will significantly improve freight movement along the I-5 corridor. Read the letter.

Please take a moment to thank the Governors Kitzhaber and Inslee for their continued leadership and express your support for this critical project. To say up to date on the project, follow CRCC on Twitter and Facebook.

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Oregon Legislative Wrap-up

The Oregon Legislature adjourned its 2013 session on Monday, July 8. Throughout the six-month session, the Alliance played an active role in Salem, including delivering testimony, generating grassroots communications and drafting legislation. The Alliance, with our partners, was involved in lobbying and/or tracking the following legislation.

I-5 Replacement Bridge Project
The Alliance’s top transportation priority, the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project (HB 2800A), secured $450 million in-state bonding for the Oregon share of the project costs.  The funding was conditioned on approval of Washington State and federal funding approvals. Unfortunately, the state of Washington did not approve its share of the funding so this project is not moving forward. The Oregon funding expires in September unless Washington’s share of the funding can be found.

Connect Oregon
SB 260 authorized $42 million in Connect Oregon funds to continue investing in critical freight and intermodal infrastructure and was amended to include bicycle and pedestrian projects. 

Tri-Met Governance
HB 3316 would have converted TriMet’s board from one appointed by the governor to a directly elected body. The Alliance opposed the measure which was converted to a requirement for the Secretary of State to do a performance audit of the agency.
(July 2013)

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I-5 Bridge Discussions Continue in Washington

This week, supporters of the Columbia River Crossing/I-5 bridge replacement project are descending on Olympia to urge the Legislature to commit to its financial share of the project. The Washington Legislature is meeting in special session to address budget and transportation issues, including the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project. It now appears that the current special session may expire before the transportation issue is resolved. Governor Jay Inslee has given tentative indication that he will call a special session to address transportation issues. The Senate Republicans, who control the Senate due to two Democrats joining their caucus, are reluctant to move a package or allow the I-5 project to be included. Meanwhile, two of the three large upstream users who would be impacted by the proposed bridge height have reach mitigation agreements.  The Alliance is working with partners in Washington state to secure the state’s funding commitment.
(June 2013)

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I-5 Bridge Replacement Project update

The Alliance has been working closely with the Columbia River Crossing Coalition to lobby for support of the project at the Washington Legislature. While the Washington House was prepared to move forward with on a transportation funding package, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to allow funding for the light rail portion of the project, effectively killing the funding package. The Legislature adjourned without resolving the issue, but the issue is part of the current special session, which could extend into June according to recent news reports. The Alliance will remain active in lobbying for funding for this important transportation project.
(May 2013)

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Alliances #1 transportation priority makes headway

In a huge victory for backers of regional freight mobility, including the Portland Business Alliance, Governor John Kitzhaber, the Oregon House and Senate approved a commitment of $450 million of Oregon transportation funds to the I-5 Bridge Replacement project, also known as the Columbia River Crossing. Additionally, the Washington House Democrats have introduced a package of transportation funding measures that includes Washington's share of the project funding. Washington House Republicans, however, did not allocate funding for any new projects in their proposed budget.

Please take a moment to thank House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senator Bruce Starr for the leadership roles they played in passing this important transportation bill.
(March 2013)

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The Alliance voices support for Interstate-5 bridge replacement project in Salem

On Monday, February 18, the Oregon Legislature's Joint Interstate-5 Bridge Replacement Project Committee approved House Bill 2800, which lays the foundation for the state's share of funding for the bridge. Alliance President and CEO Sandra McDonough testified in favor of the project shortly before the committee vote. Read the testimony.

Earlier in the month, Alliance Transportation Committee Chair, David Knowles of CH2M Hill and Alliance staff also testified in Vancouver, Washington in support of project. Read the testimony.

Additionally, the Alliance and Columbia River Crossing Coalition partners wrote a letter to Governor Jay Inslee asking that Washington State demonstrate its commitment to fund its share of the project cost. This week, Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn and members of the committee released the Connecting Washington transportation package, which would fund nearly $10 billion in transportation projects across the state, including the I-5 bridge replacement project. This is a huge milestone for the project as it indicates there is significant momentum. A hearing on the Connecting Washington package is expected early next week in the House Transportation Committee. Read the letter.
Read the release announcing the Connecting Washington funding package.

The Alliance urges members to thank members of the Oregon Legislature's Joint I-5 Bridge Replacement Project Committee for their support of the project as soon as possible and contact their individual legislative representatives to voice support of the project. Contact the joint committee.
(February 2013)

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Columbia River Crossing economic analysis released, shows cost-savings for freight and commuters

As part of the U.S. Coast Guard bridge permitting process, the Columbia River Crossing project conducted an Economic Benefits Analysis, which was released in November of 2012. The analysis found significant benefit in building the project; here are some highlights:
  • The highway and transit improvements will save travelers about 6.8 million hours per year in reduced auto and truck delays.
  • By 2030, the estimated traveler savings will exceed $435 million per year.
  • Freight-intensive industries will see reduced costs of moving goods to market.
  • Reductions in congestion will provide businesses in Oregon access to larger markets for their goods and services as well as a larger labor market from which to draw skilled workers, making it more likely they can find the best people to meet their workforce needs.
  • The project will eliminate the risk of catastrophic loss of the existing bridges in an earthquake, which would cause economic hardship due to the inoperability of the West Coast's main trade corridor.
  • The value of benefits of the current bridge proposal is $7-9 billion, depending on assumptions, much higher than the construction costs of about $3 billion.
Read the full report here/
(November 2012)

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Alliance provides recommendations for Portland Bike Share locations

In partnership with the Alliance's Central City Committee, Clean & Safe, BOMA and the Downtown Retail Council, the Alliance's Transportation Committee created guiding principles for Portland Bike Share station locations in the central city. The guiding principles state that stations should be placed in areas that do not block right-of-way, private property owners should be offered incentives for locating stations on their property, and that stations should not be placed on freight streets, in loading zones, or in areas that reduce on-street parking. The Alliance will continue to work with the city and the contractor on station locations, using these guiding principles. View the Portland Bike Share guiding principles.
(November 2012)

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Alliance reaches out to Congress regarding the importance of freight rail

Per a request from the Go Rail Coalition, the Alliance reached out
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