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Transportation Package Might Not Single Out Specific Projects

Oregon lawmakers will study several traffic congestion points in the Portland area, including along Interstates 5.
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Oregon lawmakers will study several traffic congestion points in the Portland area, including along Interstates 5.

A joint House and Senate panel of the Oregon Legislature is getting down to work this month on crafting a massive transportation funding package.

An initial plan released by the committee doesn't list specific projects that would be funded. Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek said if she has her way, the final legislation won't include specifics, either.

"I want to make sure we have a package that is long-term, sustainable and deals with all the issues that have been raised over the course of both the visioning process and the public meetings that happened last year,” Kotek said. “My personal preference is not to have particular projects in a bill."

Kotek said she's willing to change her mind depending on what her fellow lawmakers decide.

The transportation package would likely fund roads, bridges and public transit. It could be paid for by a variety of methods including a hike in the gas tax, highway tolls, or lottery revenue.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.