Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 9th, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Thanks to a big effort by community organizers, Oregonians will now have a few more days to do their homework and take part in the most highly scrutinized STIP funding process in recent memory.
The STIP, or Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, is the Oregon Department of Transportation’s capital project list and it accounts for $2.2 billion in funding over a three-year period. The 2024-2027 STIP has gotten a lot of attention in part because it’s the first one ever where ODOT has been obligated to assess its impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. At this point in the process, ODOT needs to come up with a general funding “scenario” and get it adopted by the five-member Oregon Transportation Commission. This scenario will serve as a road-map for future project spending. Put another way, it will tell ODOT how much it has to spend on highway expansion projects and bike paths.
ODOT staff have about $600 million in discretionary funds (out of the $2.2 billion total) to put into different funding scenarios.
After coming out with a scenario over the summer that would have pumped an unprecedented amount of money into the “Non-Highway” category (which does the most of the four main categories to fund cycling, walking, and transit infrastructure) and would have led to a significant impact on GHG emissions, ODOT changed the funding allocations at the last minute. That move led to a delayed vote earlier this month.
In the last week, Portland-based Bike Loud PDX and other advocacy groups have used the delay to increase awareness of the STIP process and get more people to share comments with the OTC. They’ve passed along well over 200 comments in the past two days as part of their “Stop the STIP” campaign.
The rescheduled OTC meeting was set for this Friday (12/11), but ODOT just shared a statement saying the meeting won’t happen until next Tuesday (12/15) at 5:00 pm. “The change in date is designed to accommodate the large number of people who have signed up to provide public comment at the meeting and allows commissioners to extend the deadline for written comment,” ODOT says.
The meeting will be held live via YouTube. You can share official public comment on the funding scenarios via OTCAdmin@odot.state.or.us through this Friday (12/11) at 5:00 pm. For more information, view the meeting materials on the OTC website.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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