ODOT Director affirms commitment to active transportation in MAP-21

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 5th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

“MAP-21 cut dedicated funding… Regardless, ODOT is committed to funding active transportation programs.”
— Matt Garrett, Director of ODOT

Oregon biking and walking advocates received good news on Friday when ODOT Director Matt Garrett announced his agency is committed to key biking and walking programs that lost dedicated funding in the recently passed federal transportation bill (MAP-21).

As we detailed back in June, MAP-21 completely changed (and/or eliminated) the way many programs were funded. These changes have caused anxiety among advocates who worry that the new rules will make it difficult for biking, walking, and transit-centric projects to compete with more traditional highway projects.

Here’s an excerpt from Garrett’s statement:[Read more…]

BTA fights as Metro funding battle brews once again

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 10th, 2012 at 11:07 am

“It is unacceptable to the BTA to consider overturning our current policy… The Port [of Portland]… wants this money for highway/road projects. Now is the time to say no.”
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

A funding fight is brewing at Metro over how the regional planning agency should allocate nearly $38 million in federal funds. Unlike the vast majority of transportation funds fought over by various regional interest groups, these funds are “flexible,” meaning they can be spent on nearly any type of project. With scarce dollars in play these days, the competition to snag them is intense.

The $37.78 on the table at Metro is a portion of $147 million in “regional flexible funds” they will dole out through the federal government’s Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) for the years of 2016 – 2018.
[Read more…]

ODOT takes stock of funding levels in new transportation bill

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on June 29th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

A day in Salem-3

They’re already crunching numbers in Salem.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Congress officially passed a new, two-year transportation bill today. As I shared yesterday, it’s regarded by active transportation advocates as being downright bad. Even Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who was on the conference committee that hashed out the final bill, calls its passage “strangely anti-climactic” (I spoke with Congressman Blumenauer today and will share his candid take on the bill in a separate story).

For their part, the Oregon Department of Transportation has wasted no time in parsing the numbers to see where their programs and funding levels stand with the new bill. ODOT’s role in doling out federal transportation funds has become heightened because a major theme of the new bill is that it gives more control of the pursestrings to states. For instance, a full one-half of the total amount of money in a new program dubbed “Transportation Alternatives” (about $307 million per year nationwide) will be doled out through a competitive grant program. (States can also decide to spend that chunk on other things, although given ODOT’s track record and trajectory of respect toward active transportation, it’s unlikely they would take part in that sneaky “opt-out” provision.)[Read more…]

State prioritizes ‘user fee for bikes’ in report to Governor on new funding ideas

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 30th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

A new report presented to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber yesterday outlines and prioritizes 16 new “non-roadway” transportation funding mechanisms. Among the ideas selected as a priority for “additional consideration for further implementation” and possible legislative action, is a “User fee for bikes.”

The 93 page report, Oregon Non-Roadway Transportation Funding Options: Report to the Governor, (PDF) is the result of a 64-person “Non-Roadway Working Group” that was convened by Kitzhaber back in November. The group included a large list of transportation stakeholders (including Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky), many members of the Oregon legislature, and State staffers (see full list below).

The purpose of this project (which has been on the to-do list for the state since 2008) was to, “develop recommendations for sustainable funding of non-roadway transportation, including rail, marine, aviation, transit, and on and off-road bicycle and pedestrian paths.” [Read more…]

Sullivan’s Gulch misses out on funding opp: Here’s what made the cut

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 9th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Detail of proposed
improvements to SW Barbur Blvd.

ODOT has whittled down a list of 89 “non-highway transportation projects” vying for $21 million in federal flexible funds, to just 35. Three City of Portland projects have made it onto the second round; but unfortunately, a project that could have built the first segment of the Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor did not make the cut.

With cities around the state clamoring for federal funds as their local budgets shrink, the competition is fierce. ODOT received requests totaling $89 million for the $21 million in available funds, which the state has set aside specifically for “non-highway” projects. [Read more…]

Mayor Adams requests state funding for 7 ‘non-highway’ projects

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 20th, 2011 at 11:35 am

The Oregon Department of Transportation is set to award $21 million to “non-highway” transportation projects throughout the state as per their Flexible Funds program. Of that amount, Portland officials expect about $2.2 million to be awarded locally and today Mayor Sam Adams sent in his list of project requests.

In the last go ’round of this funding pot, ODOT awarded Portland nearly $3 million for two key biking and walking projects — the “Going to the River” project and the SE 122nd Avenue complete street project.

Here are the seven projects that Mayor Adams has requested funding for:
[Read more…]

Complete streets, paths, trails among $19.5 million in FHWA grants for Oregon

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on August 18th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Get Together in Outer SE-2

The FHWA awarded over $800,000 to build
a multi-use path and sidewalks
on SE Division in Gresham.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Yesterday, City Council passed a request for nearly $8 million in federal funding for active transportation projects. While our attention was on City Hall, the US Department of Transportation announced over $400 million in Federal Highway Administration grants — of which $19.5 million will flow to 16 projects throughout Oregon.

Below are a few of the projects on the list that caught my eye:[Read more…]

PBOT reveals candidate projects for federal ‘flexible funds’

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 16th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

A tour of East Portland-5.jpg

Federal funds could be used for
better bikeways in East Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The City of Portland and counties throughout the region are busy putting their project wish lists together to apply for about $22.5 million in federal grants. The money is distributed by Metro and is part of a $70 million pot known as regional flexible funds.

Of that money, the City of Portland will get about $6.6 million to spend on bicycling and walking projects. On Friday, PBOT released the five projects they’ve identified for funding so far. They also announced a public meeting on June 1st to discuss the projects and hear your feedback.

Here are the five projects on PBOT’s list:[Read more…]

Share of federal bike/walk spending up, and more earmark thoughts

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 5th, 2010 at 11:20 am

“… But we’re still not really cracking into the heart of the core [federal] programs in a way that our mode share and crash record really demands.”
— Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists

Number-crunching by the League of American Bicyclists shows that the percentage of funds spent by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on biking and walking projects increased in the 2010 fiscal year (which runs from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010).

In FY 2010, the League calculates that the FHWA spent 2.07 percent, or just over $979 million on on biking and walking projects, up from 1.91 percent in FY 2009. However, while the share of biking and walking projects went up, the overall amount spent on them decreased. That’s because the total spending by the FHWA (on all projects) went down over $11 billion between FY 2010 and 2009.[Read more…]

Metro unveils task force that will help recommend $24 million in projects

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 19th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Metro has unveiled the list of “regional experts” that will sit on a task force to make recommendations on how the agency should dole out about $24 million in federal transportation dollars.

Back in July, there was a heated debate at Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation over how best to divide up those funds. The debate came after active transportation advocates lined up on one side and freight advocates lined up on the other. With both sides pulling at the committee, the vote was very close. [Read more…]