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Legislature approves infrastructure project bill

The 2014 Oregon Legislature approved a bill to help fund investments in the state’s roads, energy projects, and other critical infrastructure needs on Wednesday.

The Oregon House of Representatives gave final legislative approval to a state Senate-passed version of House Bill 4111, which sets up the Public Infrastructure Commission. It is intended to monitor trends in infrastructure financing and to consider policy changes that would allow Oregon to take advantage of the best models.

“We’re doing everything we can to stretch taxpayer dollars, create more jobs, and deliver greater value on these major projects,” said Rep. Tobias Read (D–Beaverton), chair of the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee. “We can unleash enormous economic potential by making smart, innovative investments in the infrastructure Oregon needs.”

The bill requires screening of certain large infrastructure projects to determine whether they could be a good fit for alternative approval and financing methods. It also formally recognizes Oregon’s participation in the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, which will use regional best practices to address the $1 trillion in infrastructure needs facing the west coast over the next 30 years.

HB 4111 is the result of months of work by the Infrastructure Innovation Task Force, co-chaired Read and Rukaiyah Adams, Director of Investment Management at The Standard and member of the Oregon Investment Council.

The bill passed both chambers with strong, bipartisan support and now heads to Oregon Gov. john Kitzhaber for his signature.

For more information, see http://www.http://portlandtribune.com/bvt/15-news/197369-counties-scramble-to-fund-infrastructure-projects