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Regional leaders endorse state transportation funding plan
Leaders from throughout the metropolitan region endorsed the transportion funding plan being considered by the 2017 Oregon Legislature in an opinion piece published in the Tuesday issue of the Portland Tribune.
The statement was signed by Metro Chair Tom Hughes, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Washington County Chair Andy Duyck, Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard, TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane, Port of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold, and virtually everyone mayor in the tri-county region.
The endorsements are significant because the plan requires regional residents and businesses to bear a higher share of the 10 year, $8 billion plan's costs to receive a larger share of its benefits. Specific congestion-reduction projects in the plan for the region include rebulding the I-5/I-84 interchange in the Rose Quarter, widening I-205 from the Abernathy Bridge at West Linn to Stafford Road, and adding a third lane to two-lane portions of Highway 217.
The plan also includes money from transit, bike and pedestrian improvements. It would raise money in a variety of ways, including increases in gas taxes and registration fees, surcharges for bicycles and electric cars, a small tax on new and used vehicle purchases and a commitment to use tolls when appropriate for new construction.
The Portland Tribune editorial board also endorsed the transportation funding plan in Tuesday's issue, although it also called for greater oversight of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Here is the statement signed by the regional officials:
Every road, transit line and bridge we use today exists because Oregonians made a choice to take action and invest in transportation.
Getting around easily has long been a part of what makes Oregon a great place to live — a source of pride and prosperity. We've long enjoyed the reliability of getting to work on time, getting home to our families quickly and safely, and getting out of town for the weekend.
Lately, it feels different. Getting around is increasingly frustrating.
As mayors, county chairs and regional leaders, we see it throughout our region's communities.
Our constituents feel it when they wait in traffic for an hour — just to move a few miles. They feel it when they have to apologize for being late to work ... again. They feel it when they worry about loved ones making it home. They even feel it when local businesses wait longer for products to arrive in stores, and families pay more for those products.
We have two choices to preserve our quality of life: We can take action now, or let the challenges deepen as the fixes get more expensive.
This is bigger than any one city, county or metro area. This affects us all, which is why we must all work together.
We want to let it be known: We are united and ready to move forward.
We support our lawmakers working on a statewide transportation package that makes strategic investments that keep people safe and serve our communities. By taking this action together, we succeed together.
Let's act now to fight the congestion, help our families live better, help our employers stay competitive, and get us all where we want to be.
This statement was signed by:
• Metro Chair Tom Hughes
• Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
• Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard
•Washington County Chair Andy Duyck
• Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis
• Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway
• Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle
• Tigard Mayor John Cook
• Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker
• Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay
• Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden
• West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod
• Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax
• Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp
• Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba
• Sherwood Mayor Krisanna Clark
• Happy Valley Mayor Lori DeRemer
• Cornelius Mayor Jeff Dalin
• Fairview Mayor Ted Tosterud
• Wood Village Mayor Tim Clark
• King City Mayor Ken Gibson
• Durham Mayor Gery Schirado
• Rivergrove Mayor Heather Kibbey
• TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane
• Port of Portland Executive n Director Curtis Robinhold
• Troutdale Mayor Casey Ryan
To read the opinion pieces, go to portlandtribune.com/portland-tribune-news-news/portland-tribune-opinion.