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In his monthly column, state Rep. Bill Post bemoans bypass funding removed from bill in waning days of the legislative session

On July 9, I met with the French Prairie Traffic Safety Task Force about, as the Newberg Graphic titled it, "Death Road" in northern Marion County. One of the main topics that was discussed was the Newberg-Dundee bypass and how much traffic it's bringing into French Prairie, mostly people trying to get to Interstate 5.

In that conversation, I was asked about funding for the bypass. House Bill 5006 allocated $32 million for the bypass under the Oregon Department of Transportation budget. Additionally, HB 5005 (the Capital Construction bill) allocated $32.4 million for the bypass. As a reminder, both budget allocations were part of the governor's recommended budget (GRB).

Earlier in the session, I testified before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction, urging them to increase funding for the bypass to $150 million so that we would get matching federal dollars to complete the entire bypass. I also joined, state Rep. Ron Noble (R – House District 24) and state Rep. Courtney Neron (D – House District 26) in writing a letter to the three chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means urging the $150 million funding. It should be noted that Congressman Peter DeFazio has made this project a priority and he is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee in Congress.

The last day of the 2019 session, while I was preparing to vote on HB 5005 and 5006, I was stunned to learn that both allocations were removed from the bills. So, not only did we not get the $150 million ask, but we lost the GRB allocation. Unfortunately, the loss of this funding is due simply to politics.

I share this news with you because the French Prairie Traffic Safety Task Force was not aware that the funding was gone. I assume as you read this column now, you were also not aware of this discouraging news as no media covered this topic. In conclusion, I will not stop pursuing this funding so that we can get the Newberg-Dundee bypass completed from Dayton to Rex Hill and hopefully see the end of "Death Road" in North Marion County.

Bill Post is the House District 25 state representative

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