Newberg-Dundee bypass needs to be prioritized
I'm sure you all saw the article on April 17 in the Woodburn Independent about another fatal accident on McKay Road, which is now being labeled as "death road."
Tragically, there were almost 10 fatal accidents in less than a year. I've joined members in the community on several occasions for town halls to discuss the traffic safety on these rural roads. The Marion County Sheriff's department has sent out more troopers to patrol the road, they even set up speed radar signs to help reduce speeding. The St. Paul and Aurora fire chiefs are always working on quick response times with limited funding. Community members continually try to educate people to slow down and get off their cell phones. ODOT has done studies to see what improvements can be made. Unfortunately, the answer is more dollars. Until recently, not much progress has been made, because well...money or lack thereof.
After I gave a passionate speech on the House floor concerning the fatalities on Hwy 219 earlier this month, ODOT went into action and installed a flashing light at the intersection with McKay Road and 219. They placed variable messaging signs along the corridor. This is a great step in the right direction as we continue to evaluate mid and long-term solutions.
In reality, we've seen an increase in fatalities because of the increased traffic from the Newberg Dundee Bypass. The problem being the bypass has not been completed. Why? Funding, funding and not enough funding.
Currently, the Governor is budgeting $32,435,000 this biennium for the bypass. Congressman Peter DeFazio as chair of the U.S. House Transportation Committee in Congress, has made this project a priority and will see that state dollars are matched by the federal government. Last week I testified in front of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Sub on Capital Construction and asked them for $150 million to complete the project. Representative Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) and Representative Ron Noble (R-McMinnville) also signed onto a letter with me urging the committee to fully fund this project.
Additionally, I am sponsoring HB 3213 with Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany). HB 3213 would give authority to the counties to establish, sign, and enforce safety corridors on country roads and levy appropriate presumptive fines. The safety corridor program is designed to reduce crashes and raise driver awareness on state highways. By allowing counties to create safety corridors on country roads, this would greatly impact traffic safety, especially for locations like McKay Road.
What can you do? Please contact the committee members of the Joint Committee on Transportation and ask them to support HB 3213. Additionally, contact the Sub on Capital Construction committee members and ask for a fully funded Newberg Dundee Bypass of $150 million in HB 5005.
As always, thank you for your support. Please contact my office with any questions or concerns.
Bill Post is representative of Oregon House District 25, which includes
St. Paul, Keizer and Newberg. He can