BikePortland

New bike tax-funded program dishes out $11.3 million for off-street paths


Bike path at intersection with sidewalk.

Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation Division won a grant to move forward on the Westside Trail project.
(Photo: THPRD)

The Oregon Department of Transportation has released the list of projects that will be funded through the new Oregon Community Paths (OCP) program. The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee has recommended 18 projects worth $11.3 million.

The OCP program is funded through a combination of sources including the bicycle excise tax, a portion of Oregon Lottery proceeds via the Multimodal Active Transportation Fund, and the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives program.

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Here’s more from ODOT in a statement released yesterday:

Reedville Trail alignment in Hillsboro.

The Oregon Community Paths Program, or OCP, is a new program dedicated to help plan and build off-road walking and biking paths that connect communities and destinations. It’s a key contributor to ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan, as it adds to the agency’s priorities of equity, a modern transportation system and sufficient and reliable funding. Funded by Keep Oregon Moving (HB 2017), the program also aims to improve safety for walkers, bikers and other personal mobility device users.

As per OCP program guidelines, only paths that are off highway right-of-way are eligible. No projects from Multnomah County made the cut. The closest projects to Portland that will receive funding are in Washington County: the Reedville Trail in Hillsboro earned just over $1.5 million to begin construction and four segments of the Westside Trail in Tualatin will get over $635,000 for further refinement and planning.

Project selection was made using a mix of criteria including equity, safety, shovel-readiness, and regional connectivity. The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee used Metro’s Transportation Disadvantaged Index to calculate each project’s equity score. That index uses American Community Survey Census variables to identify the socio-demographic and travel behavior of nearby residents.

The list released yesterday includes projects and funding through the 2022-2024 funding cycle. Keep in mind this is just one way ODOT funds bicycle-related infrastructure. It’s separate from the mandatory 1% minimum set-aside for biking and walking infrastructure out of the Highway Trust Fund which amounts to about $7 million per year. Even so, this funding is dwarfed when compared to the billions ODOT spends on highway expansions for drivers of cars and trucks.

To learn more and view a full list of projects, check out the OCP program website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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