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Oregon's Transportation Package Poses Financial, Regulatory Challenges

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers are hearing public testimony over three nights this week on an $8 billion transportation bill that’s currently under consideration in the legislature.

??When Department of Transportation Director Matthew Garrett presented his agency’s analysis of the transportation package, he acknowledged that projects outlined in the 300-page bill are going to cost a lot of money. And that both the purpose and outcome of those efforts have to be clear before the state starts funding projects. ??

Sen. Betsy Johnson, a Democrat from Scappoose, also pointed out that projects like upgrading Portland’s Powell Boulevard are going to be regulatory and financial challenges. ??

“It’s going to take a lion tamer to figure out where all those pots, of money are and then to break it up into segments that make some kind of sense in delivering some kind of finished project,” she said.??

Johnson and Garrett said money to improve Oregon’s transportation would likely need to come from the local level as well as state and federal sources.