Hood River, OR – The Hood River Bridge Replacement Bistate Working Group (BSWG) invites the community to give feedback on whether to locate the Primary Place of Business or headquarters for the new Bistate Bridge Commission in Oregon or Washington. Community input is important to this decision as it may impact project funding for the new bridge and future toll increases. The survey is open from Dec. 2 to Dec. 19, 2022, at bit.ly/headquarterssurvey.
There are benefits and drawbacks to locating the headquarters in Oregon or Washington. The BSWG looked at tradeoffs with financing, taxes, insurances, prevailing construction wages, workers’ compensation, and community benefits between the two states.
Due to differences in state taxes and other laws, it will cost more to locate the headquarters in Washington than Oregon. This will result in less overall funds for the new bridge and tolls may need to increase to make up the difference.
However, locating the headquarters in Washington would clearly signal that a new entity is overseeing the replacement bridge and a public utility tax could bring in revenue for the Cities of White Salmon or Bingen.
The Port of Hood River manages and maintains the Hood River-White Salmon interstate bridge. In 2023, a newly formed agency called the Bistate Bridge Commission will manage the bridge replacement project efforts and will own and maintain the new bridge. This new agency’s board of commissioners will have equal representation from Oregon and Washington allowing decision-making power on the new bridge for both sides of the river.
The Bistate Bridge Commission will manage the funding, design, and construction of the new bridge and the long-term maintenance, operations, and tolling of the new bridge after completion. The six-person Bistate Bridge Commission will consist of three members appointed by Klickitat County and three members appointed by Hood River County. The Board Chair will alternate annually between Oregon and Washington.
The project has $95 million in funding and needs an additional $500 million to build the new bridge and demolish the old bridge. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) are expected in early 2023. The project is continuing with securing funding, preliminary design work and geotechnical testing to understand the site conditions underground.
More information about the benefits and drawbacks of locating the headquarters in Oregon or Washington is available on the survey. The survey is available in English and Spanish open from Dec. 2 to Dec. 19, 2022, at bit.ly/headquarterssurvey. Find more information at: portofhoodriver.com/bridge/bridge-replacement-project/