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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Feb. 24, 2024

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President Joe Biden to visit Portland, Seattle next week

By , Columbian staff writer

President Joe Biden will visit the Portland area Thursday to tout the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress passed in November.

The White House did not confirm whether Biden would be discussing the Interstate 5 Bridge project, but the president did mention it by name in a January speech about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The bill included $5 billion for a grant program for large-scale projects, such as the I-5 Bridge replacement.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. She recently paid a visit to Vancouver to tour the current bridge and said at the time that the standards for the grant program were written with the I-5 Bridge in mind.

“It just so happens that this project meets practically all of the criteria that is laid out in the program,” Cantwell said during the visit earlier this week. “Let’s get busy on applying to this specific program.”

The project is expected to cost between $3.2 billion and $4.8 billion. The Washington Legislature has already committed $1 billion, and Oregon is expected to bring up funding for the bridge next year. The rest of the project’s costs will come from tolling and federal grants, like the one listed above.

During his visit to the Pacific Northwest, Biden will also stop in Seattle on Friday for Earth Day, where he’ll talk about growing the clean energy economy and bringing down costs for families.

The last time a sitting president came to Portland was in 2015 when then-President Barack Obama came for a fundraiser and to promote trade legislation. If Biden happens to come to Clark County on his tour, he’d be the first president to do so since then-President Bill Clinton came in September 1996 during the historic floods that hit the area.