As part of its ongoing efforts to move to a multimodal, system-wide approach to transportation, ODOT is combining its Public Transit and Rail divisions into a single division.
Even before the merger, changes have already been taking place in Public Transit, such as staff moving into the Regions to provide locally available expertise and assistance. Bringing Rail and Public Transit together will help both accomplish their missions with increased efficiency and enhanced collaboration.
The two divisions have already benefited from working together. Rail safety experts are taking the lead with transit’s new federally-required safety oversight responsibilities, and transit staff have been assisting with the grant administration involved with Oregon’s new trainsets. The two divisions also collaborated to develop the Salem Railroad Depot project, which will integrate intercity rail and transit in the state’s capitol by locating them on a single multimodal campus.
While there will be no staff changes with the combined division, and employees will continue working in their areas of expertise, the two divisions are sharing a number of resources, and the potential for gaining more efficiencies is significant.
Hal Gard will serve as the administrator of the combined division. Hal has been serving as interim Public Transit administrator while overseeing Rail since January of 2012.