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West Coast States Partner to Finance Infrastructure Projects

A partnership among California, Oregon, Washington and Canada’s British Columbia may use state-issued debt to develop shared infrastructure projects, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said.

The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, which will seek private investment to replace aging public works and develop new ones, may use debt to pay for shared projects, Kitzhaber said today at a news briefing in San Francisco.

“You could argue that Oregon debt capacity is funding projects in California, but California is funding projects in Oregon,” Kitzhaber said. “We need to move beyond the old political lens that each state will happen all by itself and recognize that increasingly our problems are regional.”

The exchange is aimed at about $1 trillion in infrastructure investment needs over the next 30 years. Officials at today’s announcement included Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler and California Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

Kitzhaber said specific projects haven’t been identified. He said he expected they will include water, electric transmission and grid issues.

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