State transportation planners are scrambling to get their “shovel ready” projects in order and they’re waiting eagerly by their inboxes this morning. That’s because any day now, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is expected to release the application forms for what they’re calling “Phase II of the Federal Economic Stimulus”.
I spoke with ODOT’s communications director Patrick Cooney (he’s also the spokesperson for the Oregon Transportation Commission) yesterday and he said
Phase II will allocate $110 million* the next phase of stimulus funding for infrastructure projects will get underway very soon.
Cooney also made it clear that anyone wanting their project to be on this list better act fast — the deadline for project applications is March 9th, less than one week away. Cooney said he’ll send out a list of criteria the projects must meet along with the applications. On top of that list will be jobs, followed by economic impact, whether or not the project is ready, what’s the overall benefit to the states transportation system, and so on.
In an email to colleagues around the state this morning, ODOT’s bike and ped program coordinator Sheila Lyons wrote that, “Bike/Ped projects will be very competitive in this phase.” (I’m still trying to find out why she feels that way).
Lyons also reminded folks that the projects do not need to be limited to the street right-of-way — meaning that trail projects will be eligible.
Given that ODOT decided to fund only one bike/ped project with their initial, $122 million batch of stimulus funds, I’ll be watching the action on Phase II very closely.
*I incorrectly attributed the $110 million figure to Mr. Cooney. That is not a figure he said will be allocated in the next phase of funding. I misunderstood him in our phone conversation and I have edited the story to reflect that. I regret any misunderstanding. Thanks. — Jonathan