We have been fortunate in Southern Oregon to secure funding the last few years to finish some state highway projects that are critical to moving traffic in a safe and efficient manner in our region. Bringing a project to completion is a long and arduous process. Several projects remain in the pipeline to be finished. Replacement and repair of the two Interstate 5 overpasses in Ashland are nearing completion. Planning for the Highway 62 expressway north of Medford is still in the planning stages. One of the last major I-5 projects in the pipeline is the new Fern Valley interchange in Phoenix. The responsibility for developing funding lies with Congress and the state legislature. In order to maintain and preserve Oregonâ€™s system of roads and highways in the future, new funding strategies will need to be developed to minimize the decline of the system. Failure to develop those funding strategies will result in deterioration of the system that will be extremely expensive to maintain and could be unsafe to use. In addition to the impact on moving traffic, there will be a huge impact on our local economy as those businesses that contract to do work on those projects will be reduced or eliminated altogether.
About John Watt John Watt is a native Oregonian, born and raised in Lebanon, Oregon. He relocated to Medford from the Willamette Valley to the Rogue Valley in 1982 with the Fred Meyer organization. In 1990, John was elected to the first of four terms as the State Representative for House District 50. Appointed Majority Whip in 1993, and serving on a variety of committees including Commerce, Energy and Environment, Information Management, Transportation, and Economic Development and chairing Labor, Rules and Reorganization, Revenue and serving on Ways and Means for four years, John has had a major role in shaping state policy for Oregon. He continues his involvement with state government through the Government Relations Company he and his wife started in 1999. John has been active in his community serving in many capacities. He has served as a Board Member and Past President of ACCESS, Inc.; as a board member of Dogs for the Deaf, Oregon Community Foundation - Southern Oregon Leadership Council, Bennett Scholarship Fund and the SMART Reading Program as well as through regional organizations such as the Oregon Highway Users Association, the State Road Userâ€™s Fee Task Force, Transportation Advocacy Committee (TRADCO), and as a member of the Medford/Jackson County Chamber Of Commerce. John is a Paul Harris Fellow and is past president of the Medford/Rogue Rotary Club. With his wife Cathy, he enjoys golfing, reading, and spending time with his three daughters and grandchildren.
June 3, 2011
Moving Ahead is a publication of the Mail Tribune Advertising Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.