Andy Advocates for Albany

From the Register Guard:

Twelve key state lawmakers visited Eugene and Springfield on Wednesday as part of a summer tour to build support for a new attempt to pass a transportation funding package in 2017.

Lawmakers rode on Lane Transit District buses through Eugene and Springfield, looking at problem areas and potential projects, before an evening public hearing at the University of Oregon.

Any transportation package most likely would be paid for by a combination of higher gas taxes and vehicle registration and driver’s license fees. A proposed $300 million package died at the end of the 2015 session, upping the pressure on lawmakers to reach a deal to increase transportation revenues next year.

The special legislative committee so far has been tight-lipped about how much money it would like to raise and how. Instead, members have focused on drawing public attention to the issue while hearing about high-priority projects in different regions of the state.

At the top of the list of wished-for projects in Lane County? A major upgrade to the Randy Papé Beltline/Delta Highway interchange and surrounding area in north Eugene.

The project would include adding two lanes of traffic to Beltline where it crosses the Willamette River, replacing the existing bridge, and potentially building a new, smaller bridge between Santa Clara and the Delta Oaks area for slower-
moving traffic.

The project, which has a $260 million price tag, most likely would be divided into several phases to make the costs more manageable.

Other priorities mentioned by local elected officials include major changes to Franklin Boule vard in Eugene and Springfield; a new riverfront bike path in Glenwood; and upgrades to 42nd Street in east Springfield.

Committee member Rep. Andy Olson, an Albany Republican, said the state also should seriously consider widening Interstate 5 between Eugene and Salem to six total lanes of traffic, as it is between Salem and Portland.

The stretch averages about 60,000 vehicles a day and 200 accidents a year, he said.

“We are getting close to capacity,” he said…

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