The Oregon Transportation Commission last week put forward the road coverage option for the I-5 Rose district improvement project known as the Hybrid 3 option, with conditions. Today’s decision by the CTA takes forward the bill that was part of the 2017 House Bill, passed in 2017, a major bill on transportation financing. The legislation ordered ODOT to build the Rose Quarter Project and provided approximately $ 500 million to $ 700 million in funding for the project.
The advancement of this design option by the Commission is subject to conditions, the most immediate of which is the OTC directive that, no later than December 1, 2021, ODOT submits a project financing plan explaining how the revised project could be financed. In January 2020, the CTA received a report on the cost of completing the project from the ODOT. The report found that the original project cost estimate in 2017 of around $ 500 million was incorrect, and the correct cost estimate in January 2020 was roughly between $ 715 million and $ 795 million. Hybrid 3 would increase this cost estimate to between $ 1.2 billion and $ 1.25 billion – an increase of about $ 500 million from the 2020 cost estimate and about $ 750 million from the funding approved by the Legislative Assembly in 2017.
“We’re trying to do a number of things at once with this project,” CTO President Robert Van Brocklin said. a larger section of the highway to increase redevelopment opportunities for Albina. Advancing this visionary project design will require substantial additional funding.
Among other things, the Hybrid 3 option would involve the construction of a larger cover on I-5 in the Rose district than initially planned, and capable of supporting buildings. Hybrid 3 would also change the location of various highway entry and exit ramps, reconnect the road network above the highway, make new investments in multimodal infrastructure, and add an auxiliary northbound lane and a 1.7 mile auxiliary lane southbound from I-5 / I-84. interchange to the Fremont Bridge. These auxiliary lanes are similar to the lanes that were built on I-205 in 2019. In both cases, they were designed to improve safety and reduce congestion.
The CTO’s decision comes after more than a year of work by the Executive Steering Committee, established by the CTO and chaired by CTO Vice President Alando Simpson, as well as community discussions organized through the Advisory Board of Historic Albina (HAAB) and other organizations. . It also comes at the behest of Governor Kate Brown who, after intensive discussions with local leaders, urged approval of the Hybrid 3 option.
“We are grateful to the governor and community members for their recommendation on the road coverage options and the overall design of the project,” said Vice President Simpson. “It is our duty to ensure that this project meets the schedule and offers the best return on investment of public money. Our focus must continue to be on developing a financing plan to complete the project, and this will require additional funding from other government partners.
The Commission ordered ODOT to include specific information in the financing plan, including: (1) an estimate of the amount of dedicated financing needed for the construction of the project; (2) a discussion of whether a viable plan to secure this dedicated funding from the Federal, State and / or City of Portland, Metro, Multnomah County, TriMet and other organizations in Portland is reasonably likely to be authorized and appropriate by July 1. 2023; (3) a one-year extension of this deadline until July 1, 2024 if funding is probable but is temporarily delayed; (4) a preliminary construction schedule for the project; and (5) a discussion of when congestion pricing on I-5 will be operational and generate revenue.
“The Rose Quarter Improvement Project is a top transportation priority for the state of Oregon as the bottleneck in the Rose Quarter Project area is impacting the economies of communities across the region. State, ”said Commissioner Sharon Smith. “The legislature asked the CTA to resolve this problem, providing additional funds for the gasoline tax. The community and our regional partners have told us that a more robust design is needed to replenish the neighborhood of Albina. We recognize the historical negative impacts. Although the cost of the project is intimidating, we will work with the community, our partner agencies, the legislature and the governor to develop a solution and a financing plan.
“The Rose Quarter Project provides a unique opportunity to reconnect Historic Albina and invest in well-paying jobs for a community that has faced so much injustice,” said John Washington, Historic Albina advisory board member, which is also the executive. Director of the Soul District Business Association. “We must continue to fight for funding for this project and ensure that the voice of the community influences the many decisions that lie ahead. HAAB has approved the Hybrid 3 option.
“The Commission knows that the House Bill 2017 requires ODOT to make a significant investment in the Rose Quarter project,” said Commissioner Julie Brown. “It will benefit our economy statewide by making it easier for goods, services and people to flow to and through the Portland metro area.” But to build Hybrid 3, we will need special help from Congress, ”she continued. “It is highly unlikely that we will have the money to build coverage for the larger project without a major federal financial contribution.”