The Oregon Department of Transportation has taken the wraps off a new program that will fund off-street path projects across the state.
The Oregon Community Paths program was first announced in February and ODOT has just released more details. Program manager Alan Thompson said he thinks there could be around $19.2 million up for grabs between federal and state sources through 2024, although that amount is “in flux” (likely a reference to ODOT’s pandemic-related budget crunch).
ODOT will pull together four funding sources — one from the federal government, three from the State of Oregon — to help plan and construct paths that are not on the roadway right-of-way. That stipulation is important because Highway Trust Fund, gas tax, and nearly every other major revenue source is legally required to be spent in the right-of-way.
As an example of the importance of this funding source, Thompson pointed out that state-funded Safe Routes to School projects are limited to being in the right-of-way. “So if there’s a potential path that goes from a housing development to a school, but it is not on a roadway right-of-way it would be ineligible for Safe Routes to School funding, but it would be eligible under this program.”
Funding sources that will feed into the Oregon Community Paths program are:
- Bicycle excise tax: A $15 tax on purchase of new bicycle which raised about $800,000 in 2019)
- Oregon State Lottery revenue
- Vehicle privilege tax: 0.5 of 1 percent tax on the retail price of new taxable vehicles.
- FHWA Transportation Alternatives Program funds
In order to be eligible, projects must, “improve a critical link, regional path or a path crossing of a roadway.” Thompson further defined those terms by saying a regional path is, “Made up of one or more connected segments that is primarily physically separated from the roadway, connects two or more communities [loosely defined, could be housing developments], with each community no more than 15 miles apart, or traverses through a single large community with a path that is 10 miles or longer” and that will, “Serve as a connection point for people within communities or is a part of an officially designated walking or bicycling route.”
And a “critical link” was defined as a section of path that, “Improves walking or biking access to high-need locations like transportation disadvantaged areas, schools, shopping or employment centers, medical services, connections to transit, regional paths and downtowns.”
For more information about this program, including key dates for letters of interest and grant applications, check out the official website.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Cazadero State Trail immediately jumps up and down in my mind as being a great candidate for completion with these funds. Fingers crossed. Sign me up!
Plus one, so close!!
Oh, more money for human roads! That’s nice.
Reality check: if nothing is done about the bigger issue of house-less Portland residents, the MUPs will continue to be a trash bin. I am not trying to speak poorly of folks living out doors, they all come from different backgrounds. Some are less adapted to “acceptable public behavior” while many are enough well adjusted to not leave their feces on the path. It’s the ones who indiscriminately leave their byproducts in unpleasant places that I say need help.
I really appreciate the compound that was built at Water and SE Main. Unfortunate that it took a global pandemic for PDX leaders to pull their pants up on that one.
My point is, unless some of that money goes to fixing broken lives, we’ll still be in the same mess. Just with a fresh paint job.
And nice new tar, with that nice new path smell and the oil stains that indicate freshness!
I wonder, could the funds be used to create a continuous public camping park along the Springwater, complete with public toilets, showers, security patrols, maintenance and janitorial crews, well-drained tent sites, bear-proof trash bins, drinking fountains and water pumps?
This is the sort of forward thinking that will get the job done! It may on the surface appear to encourage the behavior. However, I am a firm believer that the only true resolution to the homeless crisis is to give people a place to call home.
Your front photo of the 205 path near Burnside is ironic, as paths like it would not be eligible in this program (it’s in the i-205 right-of-way.)
The Red Electric trail in SW would be a good candidate, as would a Wildwood or Forest Park bikeway.
Switched out the photo.
0.5 of 1 percent not .005 percent which would be a very small number
“Serve as a connection point for people within communities or is a part of an officially designated walking or bicycling route.”
A perfect example would be a bike/ped bridge from the 130’s bikeway north over I-84 to access the Columbia Corridor business district and Marine drive trail.
“One additional trail project drew public interest, but cannot be feasibly developed in the next five years – a pedestrian/bicycle overcrossing of Interstate 84 at NE 132nd Avenue. This potential project would:
• Extend the proposed 130s Neighborhood Greenway northward into the Argay neighborhood (and ultimately to the Columbia River);
• Breach a 1.3‐mile long barrier between the Argay and Russell neighborhoods caused by Interstate 84 and the Union Pacific Railroad between 122nd and 148th avenues;
• Improve access to Western States Chiropractic College, the I‐84 Multi‐Use Path, John Luby Park, the future Beach Park, and Parkrose School District’s Russell Academy and Shaver Elementary School; and
• Take advantage of existing public right‐of‐way along the NE 132nd Avenue alignment between NE Rose Parkway in Argay and NE Morris Court in Russell.”
EPIM FINAL REPORT • March 2012 – Page 111 (with a map)
There are various segments of the 40 Mile Loop that would be great candidates for this funding. Though with $19M spread around the entire state, not much of it will go to the Portland region. In practical terms, this is a major cut to path projects compared to the ConnectOregon program.
Oregon has a sales tax on vehicles now?! Somehow I missed that happening.
January 1, 2018. Any new (fewer than 7500 miles) vehicle, purchased from a dealer. There is one “class” of tax for vehicles purchased from an Oregon dealer, and another for vehicles purchased out of state and registered in Oregon. It equates to $150 on a $30,000 car.
Not .05% but one-half of 1 percent or .005 is due on the retail price of any taxable vehicle.
How about developing the abandoned RR line to LO. Let’s make a regional trail system.