The Oregon Legislature had a new bill introduced that seeks to provide $125 million in state funding for the construction of a new Hood River-White Salmon Bridge. The bipartisan bill, Senate Bill 431, was scheduled for a hearing on February 7 in front of the Joint Transportation Committee.
If the bill is approved, this will provide state funding from Oregon and help secure funding from the federal government.
The bill is sponsored by multiple representatives from across the political spectrum. The sponsors represent a diverse range of regions throughout the state.
“This bipartisan and regional representation demonstrates broad support for funding the new Hood River-White Salmon Bridge,” said Project Director Michael Shannon. “It is also reflective of the unanimous support for the project in the local Gorge constituencies.”
“We encourage our local Oregon residents to contact their state elected officials and reiterate the importance of this project to our region. Passing Senate Bill 431 will realize a big piece of the puzzle in terms of secured funding from both states,” said Port Commissioner Mike Fox, who also serves as chair of the Bistate Working Group.
In 2021, the new bridge was estimated at $500 million. Now, the project team estimates the new bridge to cost $520 million due to inflation. The original estimate accounted for a 4% inflation rate per year, yet in 2022 the inflation rate was 8%, and for some materials, even higher. If inflation rates keep following suit, it could cost an extra $20 million per year.
$95 Million has been secured so far. $80 million came from the Move Ahead Washington funding, while the other $15 million came from three grants at $5 million per grant: An American Rescue Plan grant through Oregon, a federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant and a 2017 Oregon grant.