Local leaders said they have struck a landmark deal paving the way for two major projects -- a new Sellwood Bridge and a new light rail line.

Consider the total price tag of the two projects at stake: more than $1.5 billion.

The bridge project has been in jeopardy because the city and county haven't figured out a funding compromise. At the same time recently, the approved Milwaukie light rail line fell short about $50-million in funding. And it, too, was in jeopardy.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and county chair Jeff Cogen got together Wednesday night and hammered out a plan to find construction savings in the bridge project and steer that savings toward the gap in light rail funding.

The risk here is that the city doesn't realize the construction savings Adams is predicting.

But he is confident in finding $20-million of design and construction fat in the Sellwood Bridge plans. He and regional partners just went through this process with the Columbia River crossing project.

They hired a private consultant, combed through those plans and said they found tens of millions of dollars in savings opportunities there.

KGWReporter Randy Neves contributed to this report

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