SALEM -- The Oregon Senate has approved $450 million in bonds to help pay for a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River connecting Portland and Vancouver.
The vote Monday was 18 to 11. Gov. John Kitzhaber, a bridge backer, says he'll sign the bill.
“The vote in the Senate today is an important step forward for our state and the Pacific Northwest economy,” said Governor Kitzhaber in a press release. “By investing in a safe and effective transportation system for Oregon, we are providing a safer and less congested trip for freight and commuters. I look forward to signing the bill. It is time that we build this bridge.”
The money will be spent only if Washington state comes up with its $450 million share, the federal government agrees to contribute more than $1 billion and the U.S. Coast Guard issues building permits.
In February, the Oregon House approved funding for the project in a 45-11 vote.
The total cost is estimated at $3.4 billion.
The project would include a new bridge for vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and light-rail trains, along with new interchanges on both sides of the river.
Supporters say the project will boost commerce. Opponents have reservations about the project's funding.