Congressman says governor is wrong to suggest the safety improvements have not been carefully studied and approved by transportation experts

CONTRIBUTED - Congressman Earl BlumenauerOregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) is urging Gov. Kate Brown to not veto $2 million in state funds for long planned safety improvements on Capitol Highway in Southwest Portland.

Brown announced on Wednesday that she intends to veto the appropriation because the project was approved by the 2017 Oregon Legislature, not the Oregon Deparmtment of Transportation. But, in a Thursday letter to Brown, Blumeanuer said the project has been well studied.

"Your veto would be unprecedented in undermining more than two decades of planning and work on this much-needed project," Blumenauer wrote on Aug. 10.

The $10 million roject would widen and add sidewalks and bike paths to a dangerous section of the highway between Garden Home and Taylors Ferry roads. Portland has dedicated $3.3 million to the project from the temporary 10-cent a gallon gas tax approved by city voters at the May 2016 election. The rest of the money will come from transportation system development charges.

"The project's completion hinges on the State of Oregon's investment of $2 million. This project was carefully vetted and considered on its own merits by both chambers of the legislature. To imply otherwise is misguided and wrong," said Blumenauer, a former City Council member who was in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The council, Southwest Portland community leaders and others are also urging Brown to not veto the state funding.

The money is in House Bill 5006, this session's so-called Christmas Tree bill, which includes funds for individual lawmakers' pet projects.

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