Gluesenkamp Perez Urges House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to Support I-5 Bridge Replacement

Apr 18, 2023

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) testified in front of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee discussing the importance of the I-5 Bridge Replacement Program.

The testimony follows Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez’s bipartisan letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting $650 million for the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Investment Program, which is essential for the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project.

Watch Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez’s testimony HERE.

Read below remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Chairman Graves and Ranking Member Larsen for the opportunity to testify today.

My district in Southwest Washington has some infrastructure needs that are common to many districts, like repairing water systems, fixing our roads, and improving our freight railroads. 

But my district also has some unique needs that I’d like to address today.

First and foremost, my district is home to one of the largest, most complex, and most nationally important bridge replacement projects in the country.

The I-5 Bridge over the Columbia River was built in 1917 – over 100 years ago – to connect Portland and Vancouver. 

This bridge is a critical stretch of I-5, and it has been rated functionally obsolete by the Department of Transportation. 

Congestion clogs the bridge for as many as ten hours per day.

And it is highly vulnerable to an earthquake – someone once described the bridge as being built on pretzels driven into chocolate.

In January, Ranking Member Larsen got the chance to meet with the bridge replacement team firsthand to better understand why replacing this bridge is so critical. 

The Interstate Bridge Replacement project, or I-B-R, is necessary to reduce congestion and meet travel demand, address significant earthquake vulnerability, improve safety, increase freight movement and efficiency, create safe paths for bicycles and pedestrians, and expand transportation options.

This project is big, and it can’t happen without federal help.

So, I appreciate the committee’s ongoing support for key surface transportation, bridge, and transit programs.

Federal programs created or bolstered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be critical to the project’s success, including: the Bridge Investment Program, the Capital Investment Grants Program, and the Mega Grant Program.

And just last month, I led a bipartisan letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting full funding for the Bridge Investment Program.

I want to make sure the committee knows how critical this project is to my district, to the northwest, and to the nation.”

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