Why we need it:This is an urgent public health and safety risk. With daily traffic jams and frequent traffic accidents that make our only bridge impassable, the risk to residents who suffer a medical emergency in Polk County, across the river from the Salem Hospital trauma center, is unacceptable. In addition, with the increasing likelihood of a significant earthquake, our only bridge, built long before seismic engineering considerations, is unlikely to be available if/when we have an earthquake.
This is an environmental responsibility issue. As thousands of cars each week idle for extended periods while caught in unnecessary traffic jams, they release many tons of carbon dioxide as well as pollutants that contaminate the air and add to climate change concerns. This pollution impacts residents who live along the unnecessarily congested roads and disproportionately represent poor and minority communities.
This is an economic issue. As workers, business people and residents sit in traffic, they are not able to contribute their productivity to our economy. Thousands of daily commuters spend an extra 20 minutes each way sitting in their idling cars for an average of at least 3.3 nonproductive hours each week. The total lost time is equivalent to 21.5 days per person per year representing an enormous loss to our community.
In addition to these major issues, the lack of a second bridge providing connectivity between Polk and Marion counties residents are impacted by this as a livability issue. For all of these reasons, we respectfully request that you "Build it NOW!"