Spotlight on Improving Infrastructure in Oregon Communities

Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has secured key provisions that will help create jobs and improve infrastructure in Oregon communities in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water appropriations bill, which was voted out of committee late last week.

“One of the most gratifying parts of serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee is that I get to work with communities across the state to fund their needs, and then see the funding in action, benefiting Oregon’s small ports, irrigation districts, and more,” Merkley said.

“This bill includes bipartisan efforts to strengthen our country in the future, such as the investment in wind energy, and supports programs that will help Oregonians in the near future, such as funding to dredge our small ports.”

Some of key elements of the legislation that will impact Oregon include:

  • Small Ports and Army Corps Navigation: The program, which is vital to help Oregon ports pay for dredging and other necessary infrastructure projects, received over $600 million for deep-draft harbor and channel improvements, $50 million for inland waterways, $24 million for navigation maintenance, and $54 million for small ports, which supports the small ports that are the lifeblood of Oregon’s coastal economy;
  • Water Conservation and Habitat Restoration: The WaterSmart program received a $26 million increase, to $60 million, to fund projects that will help irrigation districts comply with the Endangered Species Act, etc.

The next step for the bill is a full Senate vote, and eventually merging with a counterpart bill from the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be passed by both houses and signed into law.

 

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