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Originally published Monday, January 27, 2014 at 10:41 PM

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Kitzhaber: Now or never for Columbia bridge funding

Oregon’s governor has told the Legislature it must fund a new Columbia River crossing during this winter’s legislative session or he’ll drop the project.


The Associated Press

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SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. John Kitz­haber says he’ll give up on plans to build a new bridge across the Columbia River if the Legislature doesn’t fund the project during the five-week session that begins next month.

Kitzhaber says in a letter to state lawmakers on Monday that “Oregon must either decisively move the project to construction or refocus and prioritize our resources.”

He says continuing with the project will require funding from the Oregon Legislature before the end of the session and a signed agreement with the state of Washington by March 15.

Plans call for widening part of Interstate 5, replacing the bridge and extending Portland’s light-rail line to Vancouver, Wash.

Kitzhaber and other bridge proponents say it would improve safety and decrease congestion.

Critics question the cost and light-rail plans.



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