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Sen. Wyden discusses President Biden's planned Portland visit on infrastructure

The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program is a candidate for a big portion of federal funding, but it's unclear if the president will discuss that project.

PORTLAND, Ore. — President Joe Biden is expected to visit Portland on Thursday to talk about investments being made with the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress in November.

Ahead of his visit, Sen. Ron Wyden sat down with KGW for an interview in which he shared his thoughts on the importance of infrastructure to the community.

"Infrastructure is so important to our quality of life and our economy," Wyden said. "You simply cannot have big league job creation with little league infrastructure."

The bill includes funding to rebuild roads and bridges, expand public transit, increase services for electric vehicles and improve internet access in rural areas, among other improvements to the nation's infrastructure. 

RELATED: President Biden to visit Portland next week to talk infrastructure

Oregon is anticipating $1.2 billion over the next five years, and Washington state is expected to get $1.8 billion. The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, which aims to replace the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River that connects the two states, is a candidate for a significant portion of those funds. 

Experts say the old bridge, with its first span built in 1917, need to be replaced because it would most likely fall apart in the event of a major Cascadia subduction zone earthquake

When asked if he expects Biden to discuss the Interstate Bridge project, Sen. Wyden said the details of the president's trip are "still being worked out."

RELATED: Interstate Bridge replacement would include new North Portland Harbor Bridge

He did say that a colleague in the Senate Finance Committee Center assured him that the project is likely to move forward. 

The total cost of the Interstate Bridge Project is currently estimated to fall between $3.2 and $4.8 billion with about $1 billion expected to come from Oregon and Washington and the remainder from federal grant programs and tolling. 

President Biden is also expected to speak in Seattle on April 22. 


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