Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 5th, 2012 at 1:52 pm
"MAP-21 cut dedicated funding... Regardless, ODOT is committed to funding active transportation programs."
— Matt Garrett, Director of ODOT
Oregon biking and walking advocates received good news on Friday when ODOT Director Matt Garrett announced his agency is committed to key biking and walking programs that lost dedicated funding in the recently passed federal transportation bill (MAP-21).
As we detailed back in June, MAP-21 completely changed (and/or eliminated) the way many programs were funded. These changes have caused anxiety among advocates who worry that the new rules will make it difficult for biking, walking, and transit-centric projects to compete with more traditional highway projects.
Here's an excerpt from Garrett's statement:
- MAP-21 cut dedicated funding levels for active transportation programs by nearly 40 percent. Regardless, ODOT is committed to funding active transportation programs.
- We will honor all of our existing funding commitments to bicycle and pedestrian programs in the 2012-2015 STIP, which will provide about $4 million per year more of federal flexible funds than what MAP-21 provides to Oregon for bicycle and pedestrian projects through the new Transportation Alternatives Program.
- MAP-21 abolishes the Safe Routes to School program. ODOT will keep it intact through 2015 and fund the education and outreach of the program going forward.
- MAP-21 allows states to “opt out” of the Recreational Trails Program. Oregon will not opt out for the next three or four years. The Oregon State Parks Department will continue to administer the Recreational Trails Program until at least 2016.
- Starting in 2016, all active transportation related programs that are infrastructure-related (including projects previously eligible for Safe Routes to School infrastructure programs) will be considered part of the Enhance Program in the 2016-19 STIP and projects will be chosen by the Area Commissions on Transportation.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) responded to this statement by saying, "We are thrilled to have such supportive leadership at the state level." That being said, the BTA says they'd still like to see a promise for increased investment in biking, walking, and transit.
Keep in mind that the MAP-21 is only in effect through September 2014. ODOT has set up a webpage with more information about how MAP-21 impacts Oregon.