Introduction

Oregonís transportation system is the backbone of the stateís economy. A well-maintained, resilient, and efficient network of highways, rail and waterborne transportation is essential. It supports the businesses that provide the jobs and revenues needed to underpin the resourcebased, traditional manufacturing and advanced biotech and computer/electronics technologies that characterize the stateís economy.

Oregonís ability to retain its quality of life in an increasingly global economy rests to a great degree on our ability to provide wellpaying jobs in the diverse array of industries that trade with the rest of the U.S. and the rest of the world. To maintain its advantage as an attractive location for businesses of all types, including those in the industrial sectors that offer middle-income jobs, Oregon must support, retain and attract workers and businesses best suited to the emerging demands of the domestic and international marketplace.

One of the key business requirements needed to grow and succeed in a highly competitive marketplace is the ability to maintain consistently high levels of productivity. This requires that the costs to move materials needed to produce goods in every sector of the economy, and the costs to move finished products to their final markets, must remain competitive. Transportation congestion increases the cost of business operations and reduces productivity. Chronic delay linked to congestion can affect a regionís economy by reducing its competitiveness resulting in significant impacts on employment and economic output. Oregon, as a West Coast logistical hub, is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of increasing congestion.

Additional investment is needed to maintain Oregonís connections with global and domestic markets and to remain competitive with other states that are planning large investments in their transportation infrastructure. This report finds that:

  • Oregonís competitiveness is largely dependent on efficient transportation. Over 346,400 jobs are transportation related, or transportation dependent, meaning that system deficiencies threaten the stateís economic vitality.
  • Businesses report that traffic congestion and travel delays cost money, forcing changes in business operations and location decisions.
  • Additional investments would generate 8,300 jobs, $1.1 billion in benefits, and a $2.40 return for every $1 of investment, by 2040.