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PORTLAND-The Port of Portland approved its 2003 Transportation Improvement Plan this week. It lists 75 potential transportation-related improvements totaling $757.7 million that the Port says are necessary over the next 20 years to maintain efficient access to its seaport, airport and industrial park properties and supporting facilities.

The projects identified in the 2003 PTIP are mostly located in the Columbia Intermodal Corridor. The CIC, a primary east-west route serves Portland International Airport and the Rivergate Industrial District, is a high density, road and rail route in north and northeast Portland that carries more than 25,000 vehicles and 35 trains per day. It is home to about 96% of Oregon’s and southwest Washington’s key freight industries, according to the Port.

“Efficient freight mobility, distribution and market access are strategic elements for this region’s industries,” says Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt. “If the region’s employers are constrained by our transportation system, many may relocate, taking critical revenues, jobs and tax dollars with them.”

For the near term, the Port has targeted a package of freight mobility projects within the Columbia Intermodal Corridor as primary candidates for funding from federal, state and local transportation authorities. They include: eight road-related air cargo access projects; four other road-related improvements, including an engineering analysis for a full interchange at Columbia Boulevard and Interstate 5; a major rail yard development in Rivergate, and; completion of the 40-Mile-Loop bicycle/pedestrian pathway in Rivergate.

Also included in this year’s PTIP is an approximately $171-million project to deepen the lower Columbia River navigation channel by three feet so that today’s larger cargo ships can leave the river more fully loaded with exports. The Port says funding for this project is slated to come primarily from congressional appropriations, with the states of Oregon and Washington each paying $27.7 million toward the combined “local match.”

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