REMARKS AS PREPARED
April 28, 2016
Thank you to Rian Windscheimer and ODOT staff for leading today’s tour of the George Abernethy Bridge.
It was great to get a first-hand look at a prime example of the types of project that would be made possible by a statewide transportation package. Overall, these types of thoughtful improvements are essential to making Oregon a transportation innovation hub.
Interstate 205 is one of the most critical corridors in Oregon moving people and goods through the Metro region. But as anyone who lives or travels through here knows, I-205 is also known for its mind-numbing traffic.
In fact, this bridge is one of the worst bottlenecks in a region where congestion is getting worse. In fact, traffic delays in the Portland metro area are rising. Commuters are now spending an extra fifty-two hours each year fighting traffic than in 2009.
Those hours wasted in traffic also add up to direct costs to Oregon businesses. Until we take action, traffic will continue to increase and we’ll see more bottlenecks-- like this one at the Abernethy Bridge.
Interstate 205 is a critical route moving freight made here in Oregon regional, national, and international markets. And the Abernathy Bridge is an important link along this corridor with more than 100,000 vehicles crossing the bridge daily.
As a major route in the Portland metro area, the Abernethy Bridge is a vital lifeline link to support recovery efforts after a major seismic event. Today, however, the bridge is seismically vulnerable and would not be operational after “The Big One.”
Many bridges across the region are vulnerable. Critical seismic improvements are need to shore up the ability of Oregon’s transportation network to survive a Cascadia Subduction Zone event.
I am committed to seeing the passage of a transportation package during the 2017 Legislature. Investments like what is needed here at I-205 and the Abernathy Bridge are the right kinds of investments if we are going to keep Oregon moving and safe.