(Graphic: J. Maus/BikePortland)
I’m down in Salem today, tracking $101 million dollars in federal economic stimulus money pegged for transportation projects in Oregon.
their meeting this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Oregon received a total of about $410 million in transportation funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Today, at their Salem headquarters, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) presented a recommended list of projects to be funding with their remaining federal stimulus allocation (here’s what they did with the first batch).
According to a staff report made public at the meeting today, over 330 projects totaling over $500 million were received for the remaining $101 million. ODOT held a public meeting on March 11th to take public testimony on the projects. (According to folks I talked to this morning hundreds of people showed up and the meeting lasted over four hours.)
Before I share more about the projects that made the cut, here are the criterion taken into consideration by ODOT:
Certainty of project schedule. “It is critical that any projects funded with ODOT dollars put people to work this summer” Leverage of other funding Consistency with ODOT’s Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions philosophies which enhance livability and revitalize downtown areas. Benefit to the overall state transportation system Provide both short and long term economic potential — providing immediate jobs and opening up or expanding industrial opportunities Facilitate mode choice in transportation — particularly considering that funding for projects not usually funded with federal highway or transit dollars are eligible under ARRA Geographic balance of projects so that all of Oregon derives stimulus benefits, in line with federal reuirements to give preference to eonomicially distressed areas
In their report, ODOT stated that, due to the very tight timeline for allocating this money (the application was released on March 3 and projects were due on March 9th),
“Time constraints did not permit a completely objective scoring analysis; rather judgment and knowledge of the transportation system from many disciplines was used to determine projects that best met all of the criteria.”
that decide the fate of our state’s
How did that judgment go? In their report, ODOT says that “The resulting list of projects offers substantial investment in all modes of transportation,” and that, “The list no longer includes just state highway projects, but rather projects from across modes.” They also repeatedly emphasize that, “The fundamental principle used to develop the proposed list has been job creation.”
On that note, here’s the modal split of ODOT’s $101 million list:
- Highway $61.2 million (7 “Safety” projects, 12 “Preservation” projects, 2 “Operations” projects, 3 “Modernization” projects, and 1 “Culvert” project.)
- Rail $14.9 million (5 total projects)
- Ports $10.4 million (2 total projects)
- Bicycle and Pedestrian $7.6 million (14 total projects)
- Transit $7.0 million (13 total projects)
There are 14 total bike/ped projects being recommended for funding by ODOT (they will present this list to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) for final approval later today). Of those, 8 of them are sidewalk projects. Only one of the projects in is Portland and it is a $2 million “Sidewalk Infill Program” for Southwest and East Portland. This project was applied for by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation’s pedestrian program manager April Bertelsen.
The $2 million for sidewalks in those oft-neglected areas of Portland will be seen as a solid victory for Mayor Sam Adams. Adams wrote (via Twitter) a few minutes ago that this is “Great news for SW,” and “We fought hard to get this.”
According to a project list distributed by 1000 Friends of Oregon, Portland put in 10 total bike/ped projects for consideration. The only one that had a bicycle component was a $200,000 project to help pay for more bike parking on the Portland Mall that was put forward by PBOT bike parking manager Sarah Figliozzi (and who can blame her, given how much bike racks on the mall cost them).
This begs the question: Where are all the good bike projects? (It’s hard to get funding for a project if it’s not even in the running.)
For a bit of perspective on the $7.6 million recommended for bike/ped, ODOT recommended $9.2 million for a “Highway – Preservation” project that will go toward 15 miles of “pavement preservation” and “upgrading and repair” of guardrail.
This list as I’ve reported above, is ODOT’s recommendation for how the state spends this remaining $101 million. Later today, they’ll ask the OTC to approve the list. It’s possible that the OTC will ask for different projects to be included, but sources tell me that ODOT’s recommendations are likely to stay in tact.
Stay tuned for more from Salem.
[Editor’s note: The report above was made from materials gathered at today’s OTC meeting at ODOT. The actual presentation is coming later in the day, but I might miss it in order to be present at the Idaho Stop Law hearing.]