BEND, Ore. - Gov. Kate Brown was in Bend Monday to symbolically sign Oregon's biggest-ever transportation bill, a $5.3 billion, 10-year package that includes improvements at the nearby Highway 97-Cooley Road intersection.
Brown told NewsChannel 21 she wasn't happy with every aspect of the bill, but considering the necessity of it, she counted it as a win.
"Is the package perfect? Absolutely not," she said. "But I was pleased. It is the most comprehensive transportation package that Oregon has ever seen."
State Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, who supported the measure, echoed her sentiments.
"The bill raised the gas tax, it put some fees on some bikes, it raised some registration fees and the like," he said. "None of those votes are ones I enjoy taking. But in the end, I thought the value of transportation to Oregon was worth those votes."
In Central Oregon, ODOT will now have money for three major projects planned in the region.
"It really is a point where the conversation changes," ODOT spokesman Officer Peter Murphy said. "It changes from, 'Oh gosh, what will we be able to do? When will there be money?' Well, now there's going to be money."
Mike Allen will have details on those projects and more reactions to the bill on NewsChannel 21 at 5 and 6.
Here's a link to the Legislature's information about the bill, including its text: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/HB2017