PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a report titled “Highway Boondoggles 5,” the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group said the I-5 Rose Quarter widening project “would constitute a step backward.”
The reports claims states keep spending billions of dollars on creating new or expanding existing highways and don’t address the actual problems in transportation.
The $450 million I-5 Rose Quarter widening project is among those cited. While praising Portland as “a city that has taken great strides toward more sustainable transportation,” the report also states the project “would also likely fail to meaningfully improve safety compared with other investment strategies.”
In a statement on their website, OSPIRG Foundation Director Charlie Fisher said the I-5 Rose Quarter widening project doubles down “on a car-centric system that will lead to more traffic and pollution.”
Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation disagree. In a statement to KOIN 6 News, ODOT’s Don Hamilton said:
“This project will upgrade all forms of transportation in a congested corridor. It will add new highway crossings for people walking and riding bicycles, remove seismically deficient overpasses, improve community access to transit, improve connections for neighborhoods divided for a half century by I-5, add new safety shoulders and auxiliary lanes on I-5, reduce freeway crashes, and reduce congestion by an estimated 2.5 million hours per year.”
In a scathing letter sent in April, high-ranking staff at Metro regional government slammed the state’s planning documents for an Interstate 5 project in Portland as “inadequate” and “potentially misleading.”