Governor Kulongoski's
Transportation Vision Committee

$18 billion for more highways

$18 billion for more highways
Gov. Kulongoski and ODOT plans

Governor Kulongoski's "Transportation Vision Committee" released a report in November 2008 that called for $18 billion in new and expanded state highways. A couple of Portland based, foundation funded environmental groups were part of this committee, but they were merely window dressing to show that all points of view were supposedly considered. (1000 Friends, Oregon Env. Council, Environment Oregon)

No substantial increases in transit systems (outside of Portland) were mentioned in the report. Portland's light rail expansion is a good thing, but far more money is being spent toward expanding the interstate highway network than public transit.

Washington State is making some modest upgrades to the train tracks that the Amtrak Cascdes train uses to have better passenger rail service. The Cascades train can go 200 kph (124 mph), making it the second fastest train in the country -- but the tracks are not able to handle it. Money planned to widen I-5 should be used to upgrade intercity passenger rail.
"Transportation Vision Report" - no longer on line
archived at

some highlights:

$4.2 billion - Columbia River Crossing, wider I-5

$1 billion - Sunrise freeway, Clackamas County

$1.3 billion - I-5 / I-84 reconstruction, Portland

$2.1 billion - I-5 to Hwy 99, Tualatin-Sherwood

$2 billion - I-5 widening south of Portland

$600 million - I-5 widening, Salem to OR 34

$670 million - new Salem Willamette River bridge

$550 million - Newberg Dundee bypass

$100 million - North Corvallis Bypass

$200 million - Route 126 upgrade, Springfield

$250 million - Beltline widening, Eugene

$375 million - Route 62 freeway bypass, Medford

$870 million, US 97 upgrades, Bend-Redmond


Oregon's Environmental Groups are silent about ODOT's highway plan
(no longer online)

The "Oregon Priorities" website from 1000 Friends, Environment Oregon and Oregon Environmental Council avoids mention of ODOT's plans to spend $18 billion to expand Oregon State Highways. They are also silent about Kulongoski's "Mileage Tax" proposal, which would track all trips to charge taxes on a per-mile basis. This surveillance system would reward speeders (who use more fuel) and SUV owners. Gas taxes are a less intrusive way to fund transportation projects than creating "spy roads" to monitor everyone's travels and charging Hybrids the same as Hummers.