Bypass funding gets the axe
On July 9, I met with the French Prairie Traffic Safety Task Force about, as the Newberg Graphic titled it, "Death Road" (April 12, 2019) in north 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 I-5. In that conversation, I was asked about funding for the bypass. House Bill (HB) 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, Rep. Ron Noble (R-HD 24) and Rep. Courtney Neron (D-HD 26) in writing a letter to the tri-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means urging for the $150 million. It should be noted that Congressman Peter DeFazio has made this project a priority and he is the Chair 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 representative of Oregon House District 25, which includes St. Paul, Keizer
and Newberg. He can be reached at
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