oregon transportation commission
Transportation commission says I-5 Rose Quarter project can move ahead without environmental statement
The oversight body for the Oregon Department of Transportation has given the agency permission to move forward on their $715 million I-5 Rose Quarter project without doing more rigorous and independent analysis of its environmental and community impacts.
In a 5-0 vote taken on a meeting held over the phone today, Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Robert Van Brocklin said he was satisfied with steps taken by ODOT thus far and that, “I just don’t find the basis in the record to change to an EIS [Environmental Impact Statement].”
At issue was whether ODOT should be required to perform an EIS or stick with their already completed Environmental Assessment. Both processes are part of the US Federal Highway Administration National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). ODOT completed an EA last February, a step required to determine whether or not a project will have significant impacts.
With their vote today, the OTC has swept aside serious concerns and calls for an EIS by many regional elected leaders and organizations, and thousands of Portlanders who oppose the project. In the past two weeks alone, the group No More Freeways says over 350 people submitted public comment calling for an EIS. Last spring a comment period led to over 2,000 public omments, 89% of which were in opposition to the project. [Read more…]
The Oregon Transportation Commission just announced a special meeting that will take place on Wednesday where they are likely to choose a new leader of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The Willamette Week reported in late August that three finalists have been chosen. On the short list are Contra Costa Transportation Authority Director Randell Iwasaki, New Hampshire Department of Transportation Director Victoria Sheehan, and current ODOT Highway Department Manager Kris Strickler.[Read more…]
What’s really going on with the controversial I-5 Rose Quarter project?
The OTC’s search committee — led by Vice Chair Bob Van Brocklin, a lawyer with Stoel Rives LLP — has published a draft version of the job description and will accept public comment on it until this Thursday, May 9th. Below are a few salient excerpts from the description:
The OTC seeks a new chief executive that will manage ODOT through significant change…
Before the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) can begin any kind of congestion pricing on existing freeways, they must first submit a proposal to the Federal Highway Administration. At their monthly meeting in Salem today, ODOT’s governing body voted 5-0 in favor of that 48-page plan, marking a major step in the future of tolling in the Portland region.
Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett sat silenty for nearly two hours today while members of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC, ODOT’s governing body) probed deeper into an audit of the agency he has led since 2005.
ODOT got solid marks from auditors in some categories — like organizational culture and building and maintaining highways. But auditors also found the agency needs a clearer short-term plan and more effective coordination with its governing body, the OTC.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has successfully added her first member to Oregon Transportation Commission and it appears like he’s got at least some some cycling experience.
Sean O’Hollaren, a former senior VP at Nike, fills a spot on the five-member committee that was left vacant when former Governor Kitzhaber fired Catherine Mater.
The OTC is the most powerful transportation body in the state. They approve funding, set ODOT policy, and “guide the planning development, and management” of our transportation network. There are five members, each representing a different region of the state.
The committee’s agenda items currently include the statewide transportation funding plan, a major update to the ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian plan, federal TIGER grant funding, and more.
(Photos courtesy Simpson and Mater)
Last week the Oregon Senate confirmed two new members to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC): Catherine Mater, a civil engineer and business owner from Corvallis; and Alando Simpson, owner of City of Roses Disposal & Recycling in Portland. Simpson is also the first African-American on the commission since it was formed in 1913.[Read more…]
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and their policy-making arm the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) have proposed sweeping changes to how the state allocates transportation dollars and who gets to decide how those dollars are spent. The proposals come with a short timeline and advocates and elected officials in the region want several key changes before they’re adopted next month.
Saying that the changes are necessary because of dwindling revenues and a need to fund, “the most effective projects based on community and state values, rather than those that fit best into prescribed programs,” ODOT and the OTC are changing how the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is managed. The STIP is a document that covers four years of capital projects. The 2015-2018 STIP, which ODOT is looking to apply changes to, will include a total of $960 million in projects across the state.
From what I’ve learned so far, there are two major parts to this story. The first is how bicycling will be impacted by the funding changes; and the second is who the ODOT/OTC will appoint to the advisory bodies that decide which projects get on the funding list.