OR Senate Approves Columbia River Bridge

<p>Gov. John Kitzhaber</p>

Gov. John Kitzhaber

(AP) -- The Oregon Senate has approved $450 million in bonds to help pay for a new Interstate-5 bridge over the Columbia River connecting Portland, OR to Vancouver, WA.

The vote today was 18 to 11.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, a bridge backer, says he will sign the bill.

But before the money can be spent, many other conditions must be met.  The senate would like Washington state to come up with its $450 million share, the federal government must agree to contribute more than $1 billion and the U.S. Coast Guard must issue building permits.

The total cost of the bridge is estimated at $3.4 billion.

The project would include a new bridge for vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and light-rail trains, along with new interchanges on both sides of the river.

Supporters say the project will boost commerce, while opponents have reservations about the project's funding.