Oregon governor pushes transportation initiative

| Monday, April 25, 2005

Gov. Ted Kulongoski is pushing lawmakers in Oregon to approve his $100 million bonding program to fix non-highway transportation systems, including ports, airports and rail.

Dubbed “Connect Oregon,” Kulongoski said his plan is needed to strengthen the state’s ties to national and international markets, The Associated Press reported.

The governor said the money from lottery-backed bonds is the next step in creating a business climate in the state that supports moving people, goods and commerce.

“Rail, air and marine are not competitors with our highway system; they are interconnected with our roads, bridges and highways,” Kulongoski said in a written statement. “Connect Oregon is an important investment we can make to strengthen our ability to compete in a global market, create and retain jobs in Oregon, and grow our state’s economy.”

The plan is seen as a follow up to a $2.5 billion road and bridge upgrade program approved by the Oregon Legislature two years ago.

Supporters said the governor’s multimodal transportation plan is important for business development in the state. Opponents have criticized the amount is too small.

Kulongoski acknowledged the sum is small, but he maintains it is only the beginning.

SB71 is in the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

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