ODOT’s federal funding request focuses on highways and “providing jobs immediately”

Posted by on January 16th, 2009 at 10:56 am

The (Epic) Sushi Ride

ODOT wants $2 million to improve
illumination on I-205 bike path.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released their official list of projects to be included in the federal economic stimulus bill that is expected to come together in mid-February

The list includes 46 projects throughout the state and a total stimulus funding request of just over $179 million. ODOT has separated the list into several project types, one of which is bicycle/pedestrian (others are modernization, preservation, and so on)

Out of the total $179 million in requests, four projects and $3.8 million (2.5% of the total amount) will go to bicycle/pedestrian specific projects
. Those projects are (with descriptions from ODOT);

    I-205 Bicycle Path Improvements & Illumination (Multnomah County)
    Improves and illuminates bicycle path north of Clackamas Town Center to Woodstock/92nd.
    Project cost: $2,000,000 – Stimulus portion: $2,000,000.

    I-205 Pedestrian Path at Woodstock/Flavel (Multnomah County)
    Improves pedestrian and bicycle safety at I-205 crossing Bicycle/pedestrian Multnomah.
    Project cost: $500,000 – Stimulus portion: $500,000.

    Roseburg – Winston Multi-Use Path (Douglas County)
    Extends existing project to build multi-use path between Roseburg and Winston.
    Project cost: $2,000,000 – Stimulus portion: $500,000

    US 197: Burnham Ave. – 3rd Street (Maupin) (Wasco County)
    Builds new curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian features and streetscaping in Maupin; includes a new storm drainage system and reconstruction of the roadway.
    Project cost: $3,700,000 – Stimulus portion: $800,000

The list also includes:

  • $84.7 million for 24 “preservation” projects (primarily highway re-paving)
  • $21 million for 8 “safety” projects (lane striping, guardrails, rockfall fences)
  • $27 million for 3 “bridge” projects,
  • $750,000 for one “culvert” project,
  • $37 million for 5 “modernization” projects (mostly adding highway lanes),
  • and $3.7 million for 1 “operations” project (paving/sign upgrades to I-405).

For perspective to the $3.8 million total being spent on “bicycle/pedestrian” projects, $8 million is being requested to build 2 miles of passing lane on Highway 97 in Klamath County to “address safety and add capacity”.

According to ODOT, work on these projects is slated to begin this summer, thereby “generating immediate living wage jobs for Oregonians.”

ODOT’s Deputy Director for Highways, Doug Tindall, distributed the list to stakeholders via email and has forwarded the list to the Federal Highway Administration. In that email, he wrote about the selection process:

“I recognize that selection of projects through Salem, with little public input is not our usual or preferred course of action… we have taken this approach on this list only, and we have done so because of the employment crisis facing Oregon today. The bottom line is that we need to get Oregonians to work.”

Sheila Lyons, ODOT’s bike and pedestrian coordinator, is in meetings all day today and could not be reached for comment.

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Bob
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Bob

This is what I fear about the federal stimulus package. If the money is distributed to state departments of transportation we are going to see a sliver of it spent on bicycle and pedestrian projects. That simply isn’t ODOT’s focus.

Stig
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Stig

Re: The I-205 Bicycle Path improvements in the 92nd/Flavel area. It would be nice to have a bike path at all! The path is still closed due to Trimet’s green line construction. It may open again in the ‘Spring’.

I wish they’d improve it by connecting it better to the i84 path East out to Gresham and improving the dangerous crossings of main roads especially at Glisan where even the slanted crosswalk markings seem to encourage traffic to dangerously edge out towards the 205 onramp and block cyclists/pedestrians in the street.

Coyote
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Coyote

Too much emphasis is being placed on “shovel ready” projects. Designers and engineers need jobs too.

Shane
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Going through the list I see NO projects for Lane County- Bike/Ped or any of the $179 million- so I guess we break even, no new roads but also no improvement for active transportation.

We submitted bike/ped projects that are “shovel ready” for the Eugene area that total more than $15 million. I’ve posted them in a piece on the GEARS news page.
http://www.eugenegears.org/news

So far it looks like the same old same old.

carless in pdx
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carless in pdx

The stimulus package will be GREAT if you’re in the road construction industry. You know, digging ditches and moving concrete.

Otherwise… not so much!

I’m really not surprised that in we’re seeing this Obama strategy in lieu of falling gas tax revenue, however.

Coyote
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Coyote

Shane, isn’t the west bank path extension under Beltline along division shovel ready too?

As for the other projects on the GEARS list, should we contact Prozanski or DeFazio about getting some attention from ODOT?

(PS Maybe you should enable comments on the GEARS page so I don’t waste Jonathon’s bandwith. Sorry Jonathan 🙂

Evan
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Evan

No more capacity!
Fix the infrastructure we have (all of it) before we add new infrastructure we can’t afford to maintain.
Any other money should go toward demand management, including transit, bike and pedestrian upgrades.
Make it easier for the people hurt most by a faltering economy to get around rather than helping people who can afford to spend a major chunk of their income on a car.

Shane
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Coyote- Thanks, I think comments are auto-turned off so I switched that, they are on now, thanks!

I’m not sure if that West Bank Path extension is shovel ready or not, I’ll find out.

And YES, please contact Prozanski and DeFazio to let them know ODOT should start funding these kind of projects!

bikieboy
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bikieboy

perhaps it’s on the “bridges” list, but I’m sorry that fixing the 2 nasty Barbur Blvd. bridges (you know the ones if you’ve ever ridden Barbur) for bikes isn’t a Stimulator. ODOT plans to rehab these crumbling bridges somewhere down the road, why not now?

Robert Ping
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Robert Ping

This list actually has more bike/ped than many other state Departments of Transportation are going to submit – a scary thought! Unfortunately this rush to spend is being done without much consideration from Congress (so far anyway, except for the usual supporters like Blumenauer and Oberstar) or most of the state DOT’s about bike/ped, complete streets, safe routes to school, etc., and only a little for transit.

The House bill released today is just as weak on bike/ped funding.

You can take action! ODOT upper management and the Oregon Transportation Commission needs to hear from you, along with elected officials like Blumenauer and DeFazio, the Governor and state electeds.

Tell them you will not tolerate spending all of our transportation money on a handful of freeway projects at the expense of sustainable projects like bike/ped and transit. If we get virtually nothing through the Recovery Bill, we run the risk of getting very little of what’s left in the next transportation bill.

Don’t let anyone tell you that there aren’t enough “shovel-ready” bike/ped projects either! There are plenty!

Op-ed’s and letters to the editor will also help.

There will be technical assistance available soon for those in Oregon who want to work with a state coalition to get bike/ped funds out of the Recovery Bill. If you are interested in getting involved, contact me: robert [at]saferoutespartnership.org

Aaron
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Aaron

Bob and Stag (comment #1, #2) well said!
Couldn’t have said it better myself