The State of Oregon has finalized its first batch of Safe Routes to School projects funded through the $5.3 billion transportation package passed by legislators in 2017.
Region 1 (which covers all of Portland) will receive $3.39 million for four projects that will make it easier and safer for kids to walk and bike to class. ODOT awarded nearly $16 million for 24 projects statewide. Demand for these funds far outstripped supply as the agency received a total of 112 project applications requesting a total of $85 million.
Projects within a one-mile radius of schools are eligible for funding and schools where children come from low-income households were prioritized. Projects also scored high if they demonstrated an acute safety need, had “shovel-ready” status, and if they would benefit elementary and middle schools.
Here’s the list of Region 1 projects (view the full list here):
Multnomah County: Crossing enhancements for Reynolds Middle School – $90,957
Clackamas County: Sidewalks, ramps, rapid flashing beacons, and pedestrian refuge islands for Whitcomb Elementary School – $148,470
City of Portland: Sidewalks for Alder Elementary School – $2,000,000
City of Milwaukie: Sidewalks, enhanced crossings, crossing beacons, and bike lanes for Linwood Elementary School – $1,152,330
All the project sponsors will be required to raise matching funds. As written, the law requires a 40% match; but sponsors can have that reduced to 20% if their project meets certain criteria. All the Region 1 projects qualify for the 20% match reduction (the City of Milwaukie has not requested the reduction). (Note: This matching funds issue has been a sticking point for Safe Routes advocates and the current legislative session includes Senate Bill 561, which seeks to decrease the match amount for all projects.)
This is the first allocation for ODOT’s Safe Routes to School Competitive Grant Program (PDF) and it covers the 2019-2020 cycle. The funds will double to $30 million for the next two-year cycle in 2021.
The full list is expected to be approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission at their meeting in Salem today (1/17).
Portland will add this project to its own, $8 million list of Safe Routes to School projects announced back in June.
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