A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Bill benefits Highway 34

Written June 24th, 2015 by Hasso Hering

capitol feb 17 002

A couple of things can be said about the highway and tax package the Oregon legislature came up with Wednesday. One, it could have been done a whole lot sooner if the Democratic majority had not wasted time with its ill-considered low-carbon fuel program. And two, the package includes safety improvements on death alley, the segment of Highway  34 between I-5 and Corvallis in Linn County.

The package repeals the low-carbon law the Democrats enacted over much gnashing of Republican teeth when the session began. It substitutes something else, also intended to lead to less carbon emissions from motor vehicles but apparently more feasible and less expensive. “Apparently” because the new program is not that easy to comprehend at the first or second reading of the 73-page bill that includes it.

As presented to the special Senate committee on transportation Wednesday, the package also raises fuel taxes and motor vehicle fees without any reference to carbon. An increase is necessary because the state highway fund needs more money to take care of all the roads and bridges that need fixing, expanding or shoring up.

As for Highway 34 from the freeway to Corvallis, the bill calls for improving safety by, among other things, building a frontage road between Peoria and the South Corvallis Bypass and adding a median barrier and “rumbles” to prevent cross-over crashes. This should make all of the thousands of people using that road just a little less exposed to a fatal head-on. (Wednesday’s head-on crash on the highway near Tangent shows just why a median barrier is overdue. Two young men died when their pickup crossed into the westbound lanes and ran into a dump truck, the state police said.)

Elsewhere, the bill calls on ODOT to add third lanes in both directions of I-205 between Stafford Road and Oregon City, and it authorizes the transportation department to do so in partnership with private enterprise and to consider imposing a toll to pay for the work. Easing traffic on 205 would help everybody in the valley who can’t avoid the misfortune of having to drive to the Portland Airport now and then.

But as for tolling, that freeway was built largely with our federal gax tax money. So charging extra for using it needs more public debate than it has received so far. (hh)

Wednesday's double fatal on 34 west of Tangent: Why a median barrier is needed. (OSP photo)

Wednesday’s double fatal on 34 west of Tangent: Why a median barrier is needed. (OSP photo)

4 responses to “Bill benefits Highway 34”

  1. Mary Brock says:

    Why do you continue to be registered as a Democrat, Hasso? You seem to delight in making snide references to them. I’ll bet those big shots who foolishly let you go at the newspaper were all Republicans. 1

    • James Carrick says:

      Mary…..I can assure you the people running the DH now aren’t Republican, or anywhere close. The favoritism they show to a certain left wing nut (gets more “ink” than the “editor” online) proves it to me. I LOVE Hasso’s snide remarks. Provocative.

  2. Bob Woods says:

    A hint on driving to the airport after many trips: Do not take 205.

    Take I-5 North all the way into downtown Portland, then I-84 just past OMSI over to I-205. Less miles and quicker. The one caveat is if you’re hitting Portland at about 7:15 to 8 on the morning rush, when 205 may be quicker.

  3. James Carrick says:

    There sure seem to be more “crossover” type accidents the past couple of years, than before. Locally, we lost Bill Yutzie to one only a month ago. Now this double-fatal on Hwy 34 yesterday. How many does that make on that “safety (suicide) corridor” in the past few years? I used to drive H-34 every day. I avoid it if I can now. I’ll take my chances on H-20.

    I see SO MANY drivers doing everything but paying attention to their driving these days. Texting, reading paperbacks, putting on make-up, eating big, thick hamburgers with BOTH hands….. unreal. Now I watch EVERY CAR coming my way without exception, knowing that vigilance may not give me a chance in hell if someone crosses into my lane. And just today on 9th in Corvallis I came within inches of T-boning some idiot that came out of a parking lot without even looking my way. If I hadn’t been watching out for his dumbass, he’d be in the hospital right now. I gave him the LONG horn and he STILL never saw me. Totally oblivious!

    We used to preach defensive driving and it has certainly served me well. But we never hear those public service announcements these days. And common sense is….far less common than it once was. We’ve created a nation of morons behind the wheel. Accidents, with rare exceptions, don’t just happen. Accidents happen when somebody screws up. A lot of “screw-ups” out there.


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