oregon transportation commission

Senate names two new members of Oregon Transportation Commission

Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Alando Simpson (L) and Catherine Mater — your newest members of the Oregon Transportation Commission.
(Photos courtesy Simpson and Mater)

Last week the Oregon Senate confirmed two new members to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC): Catherine Mater, a civil engineer and business owner from Corvallis; and Alando Simpson, owner of City of Roses Disposal & Recycling in Portland. Simpson is also the first African-American on the commission since it was formed in 1913. (more…)

ODOT’s plans to change budget process ruffles local feathers

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

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.

Remembering Gail Achterman

Saturday, January 28th, 2012
Gail Achterman speaking at the Oregon Bike Summit in April 2008. She died Saturday afternoon.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Gail Achterman, known and respected by many for her role in setting Oregon transportation policy, died this afternoon after a bout with pancreatic cancer. She was 62 years old.

Race heats up for top spot on Oregon Transportation Commission

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
A day in Salem-3
ODOT headquarters in Salem.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Transportation Commission is where the rubber meets the road and path when it comes to setting transportation policy in Oregon. This powerful group plays a key role in framing the discussion about transportation priorities in our state and they also hold the purse strings when it comes to project funding.

Chair of Oregon Transportation Commission resigns due to health reasons

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Oregon Bike Summit-20.jpg
Achterman speaking at the
2008 Oregon Bike Summit.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Gail Achterman is stepping down from her role as Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission due to health reasons.

The announcement came via email from Director of ODOT Matt Garrett yesterday, who said Achterman, “has significant health issues that require her full attention and energies.” According to a website where Achterman has been sharing updates about her condition, she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Here’s more from Garrett: (more…)

Legislature appoints two new members to Oregon Transportation Commission

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Tammy Baney

The Oregon Transportation Commission, an influential group appointed by the Governor to establish state transportation policy, will welcome two new members at the end of this month.

Legislators in Salem voted yesterday to approve the nominations of Mark Frohnmayer and Tammy Baney.

Frohnmayer is the son of former University of Oregon President David Frohnmayer. The younger Frohnmayer is a former video game programmer and entrepreneur who is now the president of Eugene-based electric vehicle (EV) company Arcimoto. Frohnmayer is also on the board of Drive Oregon, an EV initiative that is partially funded by the State of Oregon.

It’s official, Portland nabs nearly $3 million for biking/walking projects

Friday, February 18th, 2011

The great news we reported last month is now official: The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) announced yesterday that they’ve received $2.96 million from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for two projects that will vastly improve biking and walking conditions in North and East Portland.

The Portland projects are two out of 27 that the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) has decided to fund from a $20 million pot of federal “flexible funds” set aside specifically for non-highway projects. PBOT has received $2,090,372 for the Going to the River project and $870,000 for a project on SE 122nd Avenue.

Follow-up: TriMet to get $4.5 million in ODOT Flex Funds

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Earlier this month, TriMet — in a last-ditch effort to fill the local funding gap in their $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project — put in a request for a 10-year, $19 million funding commitment from the State of Oregon.

Artist rendering of Portland-Milwaukie light rail line.

The request raised serious concerns with transportation officials around the state for a variety of reasons. Some were concerned that TriMet was muscling into one of the very rare dedicated funding sources available to non-highway projects anywhere in the state (These non-highway “Flexible Funds” are a relatively small pot of money totaling about $20 million) and that the multi-year commitment would unfairly compromise the availability of funds for other projects. (more…)

BTA urges against state Flexible Funds for TriMet light rail project

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

“We strongly urge that the state look to other sources for funding this vital project.”
— BTA’s Rob Sadowsky in a letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission

Last week we shared the news that TriMet is making a major funding request for ODOT’s $21 million pot of Federal Flexible Funds. The request is for a 10 year commitment of about $2 million per year to help fund the final portion of their $1.49 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Line (TriMet would then bond against the funds to raise a total of $15 million for the project).

Yesterday, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) sent a letter to the Gail Achterman, Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission (the OTC is a Governor-appointed body that advises ODOT policy and makes the final decision about who gets this money). In their letter, the BTA wrote, “We strongly urge that the state look to other sources for funding this vital project.”

ODOT charts course for a non-highway future

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Oregon Bike Summit-20.jpg
Gail Achterman at the 2008
Oregon Bike Summit.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Transportation Commission is like the Jedi Council when it comes to setting statewide transportation policy. Its members are appointed by the governor and they have tremendous influence over funding, setting direction and priorities, and a host of other decisions that have a direct impact on our state’s transportation system.

With Oregon on an exciting biking trajectory, it occurred to me that all our momentum could be stifled if ODOT (whom the OTC sets policy direction for) is not ready to handle it.

In other words, imagine a funnel with all the projects, programs and great ideas for biking at the top, and a very small hole on the bottom. The hole is ODOT. (more…)

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