A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Infrastructure bonanza: What about streets?

Written November 18th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

A ground-level view of a pothole on Madison Street, one of many Albany streets that have been falling apart for years.

One segment of Albany’s infrastructure that needs help is the city streets, and the question is: Are they going to get it from the trillion-dollar “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” that Biden and Democrats in Congress have turned into law?

The answer is: Not likely, at least not according to the breakdown sent out by Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-4th District, one of the architects of the bill.

He says that Oregon will receive the following amounts, and as near as I can tell, repaving streets doesn’t fit.

♦ $3.4 billion for highway programs and projects. Nothing about local streets.

♦ $268 million for bridge replacements and repairs. That doesn’t apply to streets either.

♦ $749 million for public transportation. Doesn’t involve local streets, where buses typically don’t run.

♦ $211 million to support infrastructure development at airports.

♦ $100 million to expand broadband access to every Oregonian. Doesn’t help people already paying for Internet service, and doesn’t involve streets.

♦ $52 million for electric vehicle charging stations statewide.

♦ $529 million to ensure clean drinking water. Albany has clean drinking water, but possibly a little of that cash could pay for replacing aging water lines faster than already planned, thus paying for repaving old streets after they they are dug up for new pipes.

♦ $39 million to protect against wildfires.

While the dollar amounts sound impressive, they will be spread over a number of years and many potential projects. They will also increase the costs of each because anything built with the money has to use only American-produced construction materials including iron and steel.

The amount set aside for bridge replacements could easily be entirely consumed by the attempt to replace the Interstate Bridge in Portland.

It would be a surprise — at least to me —  if Albany and the mid-valley saw any beneficial effect of this law on our infrastructure (especially streets) any time soon, or at all. (hh)

And another hole in the pavement of Madison, a pothole alley.


And to be fair, an overhead view of the Madison potholes shown close up above.

30 responses to “Infrastructure bonanza: What about streets?”

  1. StopTheGrowth says:

    Thanks, Brandon!

    • Will says:

      Absolutely ridiculous of those criticizing Biden (i.e. Brandon) for alloting money for infrastucture improvement, and having to deal with the GOP trying to stop the effort! Especially when Trump never considered such needed improvements, but instead added $8Tilion to our nations debt, and only gave the ultrawealthy tax-cuts! Despicable!

      • StopTheGrowth says:

        You, my friend, need to stop and look at what the Democratic Party has done to this country IN LESS THAN A YEAR! I know it must be hard to admit failure, but just look at the facts.

  2. StopTheGrowth says:

    Thanks, Brandon (and Kate)!

  3. Pat Essensa says:

    It take long to figure out. We are not going to see any of that money here in the valley.

  4. Bob Woods says:

    So, how come the Republicans didn’t provide that money, if you’re worried about what the Democrats are doing. After all, they had Infrastructure Week every year, but never passed any infrastructure.

    To the point about what is being provided, it look to be targeted at making sure that the major transport function are being addressed. Bridges fixed to hopefully survive that Cascadia Quake when it comes. Increasing capacity on the interstates that are horrid right now, like trying to get from Albany to Salem pretty much any afternoon.

    We’ve gone about 40 years without major infrastructure projects. Ever since the 80’s when the Republicans took charge of the country, and opposed that kind of spending whenever Democrats were in charge.

    But to your real point about city streets, where have the citizens of Albany been? It’s their streets, but I can’t remember when they’ve been willing to support support the needed revenues to solve the problem? They’ve supported bond issues here and there to take care of some of the major collectors and arterial street needs, but never even close to enough money to take a shot at local residential streets.

    Hasn’t the Public Works Department been telling the council and citizens about a near 100 year backlog backlog in needed street maintenance, for the last 30 years?

    You get what you pay for.

    • Martha Flora says:

      Thank you for this. Local streets are the responsibility of local government

    • Al Nyman says:

      As usual you live in dream land. The monies will be used to keep the bureaucracies in all the state government’s alive as they are running out of money. If you look at ODOT, and you’re the guy that loves to provide actual figures, personnel costs including office, autos, etc are well over 50%. There is a 100 million for internet costs and Elon Musk will provide you high quality internet through Starlink for a setup cost of $497 plus a $100 per month. With a pack of cigarettes costing $10 a pack, which even the homeless seem to be able to afford, who will the State of Oregon reward with this money. The outlandish amount of money for mass transit will flow to Portland to go with the $10 billion or so already wasted on the drug dealing, homeless refuge known as light rail. Take a trip up there and ride it if you think that’s an exaggeration but carry a gun for protection. There has never been a bill passed by a Nancy Pelosi house that wasn’t totally loaded with pork for her Donors primarily the public employee unions.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Thanks Bob –
      It’s all stated in spades here: https://www.cityofalbany.net/streets

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Evidently Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill of $831,000,000,000 didn’t trickle down to Albany.

    Evidently Obama’s 2015 transportation bill of $305,000,000,000 didn’t trickle down to Albany.

    And, evidently Biden’s $1,750,000,000,000 bill won’t trickle down to Albany.

    So, almost $3,000,000,000,000 for infrastructure nationwide and Albany streets continue to be of third world quality.

    I’m with Bob Woods. It’s time to jolt city residents into reality.

    The council needs to impose a 5-year local street “fee.”

    I’m thinking $1,000 per month on each of the 21,000 households. In one year that will raise a paltry $252,000,000 for the city’s 187 miles of streets.

    But that should be an adequate start with future year’s fee revenues making up the gap.

    That is, if the money is used to fix roads only with no social engineering loopholes.

    • Sharon Konopa says:

      Gordon you seem to have forgot about the funds we received through Obama’s stimulus program. That was a program that was for capital improvements. Albany did quite well! We had some street funds that reconstructed Waverly and around the mall. We received a grant to replace lighting to save on energy costs and the big ticket item was Talking Water Gardens! I would say that was a successful stimulus program that supported capital projects that lasted for years. Now the stimulus program under Trump last year did not support capital projects. Biden’s earlier stimulus package this year did not. This infrastructure plan, in my opinion, does very little for infrastructure throughout the nation, which is very disappointing to me. Now we went to the voters for a five cent gas tax a few years ago for residential street maintenance, which failed. The biggest push back we received on social media was from residents who lived outside of Albany.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Talking Waters was a successful “big ticket” stimulus expenditure?

        Are you serious? It was leaking for over 6 years. And then the state hit the city with a $5,400 fine and ordered it fixed. So you sued.

        “It was never our intention to have this style of discharge violation,” remember that quote?

        And how, exactly, did the Talking Waters fiasco improve local streets? Answer: it didn’t.

        Sharon, you didn’t support voter approval of urban renewal or city debts, but you supported referral of a local gas tax to fix city streets? And you think push back from out of town “residents” shot the tax down?

        Who in their right mind would take you seriously after such nonsense?

        So, tell me, shouldn’t the current council just impose a street “fee”?

        I think $1,000 per month on every household will solve the problem, don’t you?

        • Sharon Konopa says:

          Gordon you took my comment out of context. I stated our biggest social media push back was from out of town residents. Their comments can influence some voters. But there was others opposed to the tax. But as usual, no viable solution. And don’t state URD could pay for local streets. It can’t in my neighborhood.
          With Talking Water Gardens, it still filters millions of gallons a water and we Albany residents enjoy that 50 acre park. Sorry you are missing out on the beauty of that park. Enjoy living on the “other” side of this country!

    • Will says:

      Local street fee? What about those (who aren’t residents) and use Albany streets on their way to I5 , Corvallis, Hw20, 20 etc? Why should only Albany residents foot-the-cost?

  6. Stockslager says:

    Excellent point, Mr. Woods!

  7. Bill Kapaun says:

    Maybe a picture of Sharon’s bricks would help explain the above picture. Kind of an effect and cause.

    • Sharon Konopa says:

      Did I miss something, Bill? What bricks?

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        You seem to forget your “promenade”? We must use expensive bricks to help build my legacy of smugness while the nearby streets crumble. Nice Job! let them eat cake and all that.

        • Sharon Konopa says:

          Bill, maybe you haven’t seen the so call “promenade”? There is no bricks!

          • Bill Kapaun says:

            Your brick intersections on Marion Ave, a street you coincidentally mentioned using frequently in another post a few months back. That could have bought a lot of slurry seal to help prevent/delay the street condition Hasso has pointed out in pictures. I think those pictures aptly describe your legacy.

        • Sharon Konopa says:

          And again, Bill,
          Marion and the Promenade do not have bricks. Let’s stick to facts please!

  8. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Here are the current plans for Capital Improvement Projects. Very regularly updated:


    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      I stopped reading when the city described the condition of local streets as “fair.”

      Like Bob Woods asserts, city streets have been a problem for 30 years. I lived in Albany for over 22 years and the condition of local streets have always been “crap.”

      “Fair” is like saying prison is a correctional facility. Euphemisms manipulate the reader’s response. The city needs to be more honest.

  9. Richard Vannice says:

    Any one want to take bets that the majority of what Oregon gets will go to the Portland Metro area? The only projects you see mentioned area in that area! AS USUAL

  10. Birdieken says:

    All this spending seems to be desperate not deliberate, the numbers are staggering, everyone with their hands out, for the free stuff. How much are your Reichsmarks worth and how did your rotten cabbage taste? I guess all that’s missing is a savior waiting in the wings. Freedom isn’t Free.


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