A Massive Federal Funding Request For The Replacement Of The Columbia River Bridge Has Been Made

The Replacement Of The Columbia River Bridge: For a projected multi-billion dollar bistate project to replace the deteriorating Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River between Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, federal funding is still being sought.

The present span will be replaced in Oregon and Washington “with a contemporary, seismically resilient, multimodal structure that promotes increased mobility for people, commodities, and services,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The project will be funded by Washington, Oregon, and the federal government and is expected to cost between $3.2 billion and $4.8 billion.

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The state governments of Oregon and Washington are anticipated to each contribute $1 billion to the endeavor.

The approximately $17 billion, 16-year transportation package known as “Move Ahead Washington” was approved by the Washington State Legislature this year. This package includes the money for a new I-5 bridge. Toll money would cover around a third more of the project’s expenses.

During a Monday morning virtual work session, Ray Mabey, assistant program administrator for the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program and a state bridge engineer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, provided an update on efforts to secure federal funding for the massive project to the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee.

He told the committee, “Federal funding is one of those critical parts.

In order to carry out a planned ground-improvement study in the program area, Mabey cited a recent achievement in obtaining federal funding in the form of being given a $1 million Bridge Investment Program Planning Grant.

The Replacement Of The Columbia River Bridge
The Replacement Of The Columbia River Bridge

Mabey outlined how ODOT oversaw the process of submitting a joint application with WSDOT for the grant request.

According to Mabey, the two organizations have jointly submitted a $750 million construction grant for the project and anticipate hearing back from the federal government at the end of the year or at the beginning of the following year.

Additionally, the U.S. is used to solicit federal funding. The Federal Transit Authority’s Capital Investment Grants Program and the Department of Transportation’s Mega Program both finance huge, complicated projects.

We’ll be seeking as much as we can out of those awards because “all total, these three programs might approach $2.5 billion,” Mabey added.

Additionally, other federal grant sources are being looked into. We’ll try to increase the amount of federal funding for the program as much as we can, he said.

Mabey is certain that the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program and federal financing are a suitable match. It appears that these programs were designed with a program of our size and characteristics in mind, he said.

Mabey emphasized the project’s multi-modal nature, community connections, and status as a dual-state initiative.

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He stated, “The characteristics of our program seem to match these reasonably well and seem well aligned.”

The failure of the Washington State Senate to advance a $450 million transportation package that was intended to contribute to the project in 2013 effectively killed the Columbia River Crossing, as the project was known at the time. Washington’s approval was necessary for the project to proceed even though Oregon had previously given its approval.

Eight government boards gave their approval to a project concept earlier this year that calls for a bridge over the river with three through lanes, an extra auxiliary merge lane in each direction, a light-rail connection to Vancouver, and a separate bridge for local traffic from North Portland to Hayden Island, one of the four major islands in the Portland metro area.

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