The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and their policy-making arm the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) have proposed sweeping changes to how the state allocates transportation dollars and who gets to decide how those dollars are spent. The proposals come with a short timeline and advocates and elected officials in the region want several key changes before they’re adopted next month.
Saying that the changes are necessary because of dwindling revenues and a need to fund, “the most effective projects based on community and state values, rather than those that fit best into prescribed programs,” ODOT and the OTC are changing how the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is managed. The STIP is a document that covers four years of capital projects. The 2015-2018 STIP, which ODOT is looking to apply changes to, will include a total of $960 million in projects across the state.
From what I’ve learned so far, there are two major parts to this story. The first is how bicycling will be impacted by the funding changes; and the second is who the ODOT/OTC will appoint to the advisory bodies that decide which projects get on the funding list.