Oregon’s ports, railways and airports would get $100 million
in bonds under a measure unanimously approved by the state’s Senate June 22.
The bill – SB71 – now moves to the House for further consideration.
Dubbed “Connect Oregon,” Gov. Ted Kulongoski said the plan
he’s pushing 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 recent 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
The plan is seen as a follow up to a $2.5 billion bonding
program approved by the Oregon Legislature two years ago for road and bridge
upgrades. The program borrows against future revenue to fund public and private
projects across the state.
The money could not go for any project that could be paid
for by highway funds, The AP reported.
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.