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Oregon's Bridges Need Strategic Investment To Protect Economy


Oregon's bridges need to be reinforced and updated in the next 20 years; otherwise, the Department of Transportation warns the state will lose billions of dollars and jobs.

Oregon's highway system contains more than 2,700 bridges, and most of them were built in the 1950's and 60's. ODOT Spokesman Tom Fuller says in order to keep all of Oregon's bridges in good shape; they need to replace around 27 a year.

Fuller: "But we have funding to only replace three."

Fuller says legislative leaders will have some tough decisions to make to get funding to fix the state's bridges, but he thinks most of them agree the problem needs a solution.

Fuller: "How do you pay for that? It's going to cost, it's going to come out of the pocket books of Oregonians, do we raise a gas tax, do we use a road usage charge, do we increase vehicle registration fees, these are all possibilities that lawmakers are going to have to weigh."

The 2015 Bridge Condition Report encourages strategic investment to repair and replace bridge infrastructure, and warns emergency fixes or patching holes will only create long term problems.

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