Oregon Senator Ron Wyden held a press conference on Thursday, February 1, 2018, about the dire need for federal funding to fix roads and bridges not only in Oregon, but across the United States.
The press conference took place at the Marquam Bridge, one of the bridges in Multnomah County in need of structural reinforcement in the case of a seismic event. Nearly all of Oregon’s major construction unions were represented at the event, as well as Oregon Tradeswomen’s Executive Director, Kelly Kupcak.
Senator Wyden addressed President Trump’s purported intention to raise $1.5 trillion to fix our nation’s failing infrastructure. Senator Wyden said, “The way you improve bridges and roads and do all the great work these people do is with real federal dollars… We still haven’t heard from the president and the Republicans how that’s going to happen.”
Sources from the Trump administration claim that only $200 billion would come from the federal government, putting the pressure on state and local governments to raise the rest of the money. Since 2003, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been making major efforts to fix Oregon’s bridges and even with the $5.2 billion plan approved by state legislature in 2017 to invest in our infrastructure, federal aid is needed to truly strengthen our roads and bridges to the extent needed.
In 2009, Senator Wyden authored the bi-partisan Build America bonds program that successfully generated $181 billion for public works projects and created 3,500 jobs in Oregon. Now, the Senator is calling on the current administration to help fund the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure by endorsing a plan to use some of the $2.6 trillion coming back into America’s economy as a result of the tax cuts implemented in December 2017.
Investing in infrastructure not only improves our local and national economy by creating jobs and reliable mobility for people and businesses, but it is also a critical issue of public safety. We applaud Senator Wyden for his efforts in making sure that funding to maintain a strong infrastructure for our country is a priority for our government.