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Stakeholder Updates
September 2012
 

President seeks to expedite Columbia River Crossing through “We Can't Wait” Initiative

President Obama has designated the Columbia River Crossing as one of the transportation projects to be expedited through his We Can’t Wait initiative. This designation recognizes the national significance of the project and will help save time as the federal government expedites permits for the project.

 

 
Changing the way Oregon funds transportation projects
 
The Oregon Transportation Commission is considering a proposal to change how the state funds transportation projects by replacing the fragmented, siloed system in place today with a multimodal selection process that is more responsive to community priorities.
 
 
Worried a mileage-based user fee will invade your privacy or discriminate against rural drivers?  ODOT has heard these concerns from the public and has answers to them.
More...
 
Commission approves $40 million for multimodal projects under ConnectOregon IV
 
The Oregon Transportation Commission has approved 38 multimodal projects across the state for $40 million in funding provided by the ConnectOregon IV program.
More...
Federal government provides $28 million for Oregon transportation projects
 
Transportation projects across Oregon — from major highway projects on I-5 and new buses for transit districts throughout the state to trails in the Columbia Gorge —  recently received a significant infusion of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Public Transit Division reorganizes to better serve customers
 
ODOT’s Public Transit Division has geographically aligned its staff resources to better support the agency’s multimodal vision, provide a single point of contact for customers, improve coordination, and provide proactive public transit advocacy and leadership at a regional level.
More...
Electric truck incentives seeks to create new markets and reduce pollution
 
To help develop a new market for electric trucks that reduce air pollution, ODOT has launched a new electric truck buyer incentive program.  

With remodel complete, ODOT returns to Transportation building

ODOT has moved back into the Transportation Building on the Capitol Mall after a nearly two-year renovation that created jobs for Oregon construction companies while creating a safer, more productive and more energy efficient building.

 




 

July 2012
 
Improving Oregon’s highways, one project at a time
Many of the biggest projects funded under the Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) are reaching key milestones and heading into construction in the near future.  ODOT has used practical design principles on many of JTA projects to develop projects that better meet the public’s needs and stretch resources further.  To help the public track projects, ODOT has unveiled a new project tracking map.
 
 
Why we must transition to mileage-based user fees
Guest column by Mary Olson, Oregon Transportation Commission
 
The gas tax will simply not raise enough money to maintain the transportation system, much less improve it, in a world where vehicles get 50 miles per gallonMore... 
 
Figuring out how to pay for non-roadway transportation
Governor Kitzhaber’s Non-Roadway Transportation Funding Working Group has released a report that recommends a set of 16 priority funding options. More...
 
How will the new federal transportation bill impact Oregon?
President Obama recently signed into law the new federal transportation bill, known as MAP-21.  The bill extends the federal highway, transit and safety programs for two years and makes major changes to transportation policy. More...
Traveling border to border without a drop of gas
Think electric vehicles only work for short trips around town?  Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley just proved that wrong, driving from one end of the state to another in a Nissan LEAF using the state’s growing network of electric vehicle charging stations. More...
What does the Governor’s Energy Plan mean for transportation?
Governor Kitzhaber’s draft Energy Action Plan includes strategies designed to accelerate the market transition to a more efficient, cleaner transportation system. More...
ODOT takes advantage of low interest rates to lower debt service
With interest rates on government bonds at historic lows, ODOT is taking advantage of the opportunity to reduce its debt service payments through prudent management of its portfolio of bonds, saving tens of millions of dollars through refunding. More...
Oregon bags another TIGER (grant, that is)
The Siskiyou Summit Railroad Revitalization project, which will restore service on the Central Oregon and Pacific rail line between Medford and Weed, has received a $7.1 million federal TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. More...

 

May 2012
 
Active transportation gets a boost from reorganization at ODOT and streamlined programs

ODOT’s new Active Transportation Section is streamlining Oregon’s bicycle and pedestrian programs to invest scarce resources more strategically. With the new organizational structure, ODOT has combined the state Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and the Transportation Enhancement program into a single $20 million statewide solicitation for projects.
 
Highway construction to put thousands to work across Oregon

Another busy summer construction season will see dozens of projects underway across the state. ODOT’s construction map will help travelers find out about construction activity that could impact their trip before they leave home.
More...
Meet the OTC: Mark Frohnmayer, new commissioner and transportation entrepreneur

Mark Frohnmayer, founder of an electric vehicle company, brings an interest in innovations that will make the transportation system more sustainable to his work on the Oregon Transportation Commission.
More....
Agreement allows work on US 20 project to restart

Work will begin again this summer on the US 20 Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville project now that a settlement has been reached between ODOT and the firm working on the project.
More...
What’s next for mileage-based user fees?

The Road User Fee Task Force has designed a new pilot program that gives motorists choices in how they will report the miles they drive and pay fees for the use of the roads.
More...
What does the future hold for Area Commissions on Transportation?

The Oregon Transportation Commission has asked ACTs to examine their membership to ensure that the right stakeholders are at the table making decisions about investments in the transportation system.
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Rail Division Administrator becomes more than just “interim,” and Lane County gets a new area manager

Hal Gard has been appointed ODOT Rail Division Administrator, and Frannie Brindle has been named Area Manager for Lane County.
More...

Strategy lays out vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation

The draft Statewide Transportation Strategy, which has been released for public comment, examines what it would take to substantially reduce future GHG emissions from Oregon’s transportation system, looking to the year 2050.
More...

 

April 2012

New trains, new corridor director will improve Northwest passenger rail service

With ridership at record levels, Oregon and Washington are stepping up their partnership on the Northwest’s passenger rail service, hiring a new corridor director to integrate operations across state lines. Improvements on the corridor include upgrades that will increase frequency and reduce travel times between Portland and Seattle, and Oregon will have new trains in service later this year.
Transforming ODOT: Guest Column from Director Matt Garrett

To further multimodal integration, ODOT will be reorganized along functional rather than modal lines: modal divisions will be merged into a planning and programming division and an operating division that delivers projects, and ODOT’s regions will become fully multimodal.
More...
Meet the Oregon Transportation Commission: Tammy Baney

Tammy Baney wears many hats: she’s a Deschutes County Commissioner, president of the Association of Oregon Counties, and since the summer of 2011 she has been a member of the Oregon Transportation Commission.
More...
Expanded intercity bus service connects Oregon communities

Ridership on the Public Oregon Intercity Transit (POINT) network is growing quickly, and new service starting later this year will help better connect communities.
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Transportation Building renovation nearing completion

The remodel of the Transportation Headquarters Building remodel will be completed this summer. The project has created hundreds of jobs for Oregon contractors and is ahead of schedule and under budget.
More...
Need cash? Oregon Transportation Infrastructure Bank may be able to help

Low interest loans from the Oregon Transportation Infrastructure Bank can help local governments build projects years before they otherwise would.
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21st century technology helps solve truckers’ paperwork problems

ODOT’s Motor Carrier Transportation Division has developed a GPS-based application for automating the billing and collection of the weight-mile tax, simplifying the process for both truckers and the state.
More...
Storm hits Oregon highways hard (again)

Less than two months after a January storm hit Oregon highways hard, southwest Oregon was walloped by another storm that dumped heavy volumes of rain, causing flooding, landslides and other problems that did significant damage to highways.
More...
Tell us what you want to hear more about

In an effort to ensure that ODOT’s stakeholders get the information they need, we’ve designed a brief survey to collect information about what you would like to see in the ODOT Stakeholder Update.
More...
 

March 2012


  
Toward zero deaths: Moving forward into a future with no roadway fatalities
 
Ensuring that travelers make it home safe-- whether they are walking, driving, or riding a bike-- is ODOT's top priority. Unfortunately, more than 300 people die in crashes on Oregon’s roads each year. Due to concerted efforts and significant investments, these numbers have dropped significantly in recent years, reaching historic low levels and giving Oregon a roadway fatality rate well below the national average. Going forward, the Oregon Transportation Safety Action Plan seeks to continue this momentum with strategies that will further reduce fatalities and serious injuries, with the goal of eventually reaching zero deaths. More...
 
Traffic fatalities stay at historic low level
 
Safety action plan moves Oregon toward a future with no roadway fatalities



  
Transportation Commission approves $23.7 million for non-highway projects
 
The Oregon Transportation Commission has approved providing $23.6 million to a list of non-highway projects through the Flexible Funds Program. The projects range from improving bus stops in Salem to restoring the Ochoco Creek Bicycle/Pedestrian Trail in Prineville.
More...
  
State Highway Fund revenue forecast falls compared to previous forecast
 
Due to the weak economy the most recent State Highway Fund revenue forecast continues the five year pattern of seeing projections of future revenues dropping compared to previous forecasts. The December 2011 revenue forecast shows a 2.2 percent reduction from the previous forecast, with projected revenue for 2012-15 reduced by more than $100 million.
More...



  
New Chief of Staff joins ODOT
 
Director Matt Garrett has appointed Dale Hormann of the Oregon Department of Justice to fill the position of Chief of Staff, which was vacated at the end of February when Joan Plank retired.
More...
         
Oregon’s first electric vehicle charging corridor goes live
 
ODOT has teamed up with charging station partner AeroVironment and the Oregon Department of Energy to open the first phase of the West Coast Electric Highway on I-5 through southern Oregon. The eight charging station hubs provide electric vehicle (EV) owners a network of electric “refueling” stations along I-5, connecting the Willamette Valley to the Rogue Valley.
More...
  
Legislature wraps up work on transportation bills
 
The Oregon Legislature wrapped up its 35-day session in early March. A number of transportation bills passed, including legislation that reallocates funding among Jobs and Transportation Act projects and a bill to transfer management of additional rest areas to the Oregon Travel Information Council.
More...
  
Remembering Gail Achterman  
 
Friends, colleagues, and Oregonians were saddened by the passing of former Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Gail Achterman in January. Gail died just five months after she reluctantly gave up serving on the commission. She had been a member of the Commission since 2000, and the influence she had on transportation, land use, and environmental policy will last far beyond her years of service.
More...
  
Least Cost Planning: ODOT’s next generation planning tool
 
The ultimate goal of Least Cost Planning is to help provide a more accurate and thorough assessment of potential benefits of possible transportation investments and actions relative to costs and impacts — and point the way to the right balance.
More...



  
January storm causes more than $22 million in damage to Oregon roads
 
In late January, Mother Nature pummeled Oregon’s roads.  As the debris has been cleared, trees removed, and potholes filled, ODOT and local governments have totaled up the damage. ODOT and local governments will be seeking $22.4 million from the Federal Highway Administration to reimburse the cost of opening roads and repairing damage from the storm.
More...



  
Congress moves ahead with surface transportation legislation
 
Both chambers of Congress are moving forward with legislation to reauthorize the federal surface transportation program.  The Senate’s bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 74 to 22. The House has moved its own legislation out of committee and may bring the bill to the floor soon.  Both pieces of legislation would have significant impacts on Oregon’s transportation system, and ODOT has analyzed these bills.
More...
  
 Forward progress continues on Columbia River Crossing
 
The Columbia River Crossing project has seen a number of important developments in recent weeks, including the approval of tolling authority in Washington, a recommendation from US DOT to provide the project $39 million in federal funding, and an affirmation of the project’s land use approval process by the Oregon Supreme Court.
More...

 
January 2012
 

  
The case for optimism: A message from OTC chair Pat Egan
 
I fully acknowledge worrisome transportation funding trends.  I know what challenges lie before us, but I bring a sense of optimism and opportunity to my role as chair. More...
  
Columbia River Crossing gains federal approval
 
Federal transportation agencies recently gave formal approval for the Columbia River Crossing project, which allows final design and construction to proceed. More...

  
ODOT leads nation in delivering projects on budget
 
ODOT ranked best in the nation for bringing projects in on budget, with projects coming in an average of $130,000 below the original bid award.  For comparison, the national average was to bring projects in over budget by $137,000. More...
  
Oregon Transportation Commission focuses on key initiatives
 
The commission's draft work plan includes both new and ongoing responsibilities in the areas of policy development, strategic projects and programs, fiduciary responsibilities and partner and stakeholder relationships. More...
  
Rail Funding Task Force recommends ways to pay for improved passenger and freight rail infrastructure
 
The task force’s report made it clear that Oregon’s lack of dedicated funding for rail puts the state at an economic disadvantage. More...
  
Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative looks to lower-carbon future
 
Oregon is leading the way in exploring how the state, working with local communities, can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector to help offset effects of global climate change and foster energy independence. More...
  
Demand for ConnectOregon outpaces funding
 
ODOT received 70 ConnectOregon IV applications, which are undergoing reviews for completeness and feasibility; approved applications will go to modal and regional committees for review and public input. More...

  
New face joins ODOT's legislative team as veteran retires
 
ODOT’s senior management is undergoing important changes, as Chief of Staff Joan Plank retires and Betsy Imholt takes over managing Government Relations. More...

  
Legislation streamlines development of industrial lands
The Economic Recovery Review Council is developing a streamlined and coordinated permitting process to ensure that industrial developments can move ahead. More...
  
Hold the phone! New laws to improve transportation safety go into effect
Drivers accustomed to sneaking a phone call in here and there — hoping they might get away with it —have few if any excuses now that a law modifying Oregon’s ban on cell phone use has gone into effect. More...
  
TIGER strikes again, filling funding gap for Sellwood Bridge
For the third straight year, Oregon has received a major infusion of federal infrastructure funding. This year, US DOT delivered a $17.7 million grant for the Sellwood Bridge. More...
  
Free online tool matches people with places
 
The goal of Drive Less Connect is to provide additional transportation options and cut commute costs by matching up drivers with like-minded people going the same direction. More...

 
November 2011
 
  
Governor nominates Pat Egan to chair Oregon Transportation Commission
 
Egan, who currently serves as a Vice President at PacifiCorp, has significant experience in transportation, having worked for the Port of Portland and as transportation policy advisor in Governor Kitzhaber’s second term in office. More... 
  
Six trends spell trouble for transportation funding
 
Over the last decade, the Oregon Legislature and Congress have provided record levels of resources for transportation programs, allowing a significant surge of investment in all transportation modes.  However, due to a variety of factors ODOT—and Oregon’s  transportation system as a whole-- are now facing significant long-term funding challenges. More... 

  
New strategies slow deterioration of roads and bridges
 
With expectations for reduced funding now and into the foreseeable future, the highway system is expected to deteriorate.  To slow this deterioration ODOT is developing new strategies to ensure that scarce resources are invested as effectively as possible. More...
  
Finding the right size for ODOT: How the agency is planning for a leaner future
 
With revenue falling off and a significant amount of ODOT’s State Highway Fund revenue going to debt service on bonds, ODOT must take prudent steps to reduce its footprint. More...
  
Oregon's next transportation conversation: How to dedicate funding for non-highway modes
 
Governor Kitzhaber is convening a Non-Roadway Transportation Funding Working Group that will engage the State of Oregon, transportation providers and other stakeholders in a consensus driven conversation around the development and implementation of a plan to establish dedicated funding for non-roadway transportation projects and programs. More...
  
New Active Transportation Section coordinates non-highway investments
 
ODOT has created a new Active Transportation Section, bringing together the state’s myriad of programs primarily related to bicycle and pedestrian projects to ensure they are better coordinated and more strategic. More...
  
Oregon Transportation Commission to meet at Oregon Garden in Silverton on November 16
 
The Oregon Garden is located at 895 West Main Street.  The meeting will include a discussion of the Commission's workplan. More...
  
Six Oregon transportation projects win national environmental awards
 
With Oregon’s strong commitment to sustainability and innovation in protecting the environment, the state’s transportation projects do well when federal officials hand out awards for projects that enhance the human and natural environment. More...
  
Successful construction season wraps up
 
ODOT and local governments are wrapping up another banner year for transportation construction.  Projects under a number of federal and state programs moved forward this year, creating thousands of jobs and improving the transportation system. More...

  
Local governments can seek federal funding for transportation projects
 
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the opportunity to apply for about $200 million in funding under a dozen grant programs, many of which provide funding for local projects. More...

  
Donated vehicles to transport Portland-area vets
The day before Veterans’ Day, a crowd gathered to celebrate a different kind of victory: eight “new” lift-equipped vehicles to transport veterans in the Portland area. Wrapped in red ribbons and bows, the vehicles were donated by several transit districts around the state in a project coordinated by the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Public Transit Division. More...

 
October 2011

ConnectOregon funding opportunity opens
The application process for a fourth round of funding under the multimodal ConnectOregon program has opened, providing an opportunity to seek $40 million in funding for aviation, port, marine, rail, and transit projects that will improve Oregon’s trade-based economy. More...
  
Columbia River Crossing reaches major milestone as environmental process wraps up
With approval on its final environmental document from federal and state transportation departments and four local agencies, the Columbia River Crossing project published its final environmental document. The CRC is a long-term, comprehensive project to reduce congestion, enhance mobility and improve safety on Interstate 5 between State Route 500 in Vancouver, Wash., and Columbia Boulevard in Portland. More... 


  
Truck safety improves, thanks in part to aggressive targeting and award-winning team
Truck crashes in Oregon are down 20 percent, injuries in truck crashes are down 22 percent, and fatalities are down 17 percent in recent years. What’s more, crashes in which the truck driver is at-fault are down 25 percent. More...
  
Road User Fee Task Force to take next steps in developing alternative to gas tax
Under legislation passed by the Oregon Legislature in its 2011 session, the Road User Fee Task Force (RUFTF) will be taking the next steps to develop a proposal for a mileage-based tax system that could eventually replace the gas tax. More...
  
Passenger rail improvement effort gets under way
 
With the receipt of a federal grant, ODOT is engaging stakeholders to begin the process of studying options for improved intercity passenger rail service between Eugene and Portland. The Oregon Rapid Passenger Rail Plan will undertake an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will select the general rail alignment, the cities where stations will be located and service characteristics such as the number of daily trips and travel time objectives. More...
  
Transportation Building transformation creates jobs for Oregon contractors
The construction activity will create or sustain approximately 525 local jobs. More than 15 percent (approximately $4.6 million) of construction subcontract value has been awarded to minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged and emerging small business. More...
  
Legislative report analyzes transportation bills passed by 2011 Oregon Legislature
A number of important bills, memorials and resolutions that impact transportation advanced in the 2011 Oregon Legislature. ODOT’s 2011 Legislative Summary provides a guide that analyzes these bills and also lays out the legislative task forces and work groups that will work on transportation-related issues. More...
  
State agency partnership produces award-winning videos to encourage safe driving
Two videos produced by ODOT and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission received ‘best practices’ awards at the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA) earlier this summer. More...
  
Disparity study update notes improvements in economic opportunity, pinpoints needs
MGT of America, Inc. presented the findings of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s 2011 Disparity Study Update this week, spotlighting a number of key accomplishments in the department’s efforts to ensure that minority-owned firms can compete effectively for ODOT contracts and also noted areas needing improvement. More...
  
New leaders take the reins at Region 2 and Rail Division
Sonny Chickering has been selected as ODOT’s new manager for Region 2, which covers the Willamette Valley and the North Coast. Betsy Imholt will take over as Interim Rail Division Administrator following the retirement of Kelly Taylor. More...
  
Oregon Transportation Commission to hold annual workshop in Gleneden Beach October 19-20
The Oregon Transportation Commission will hold its annual workshop and meeting in Gleneden Beach, just south of Lincoln City, on October 19 and 20. The meeting is open to the public. The Commission’s annual meeting typically involves discussion of major issues impacting the state’s transportation system. More...

 
September 2011

  
Flexible Funds Program grant opportunity announced
ODOT has opened the application period for the Flexible Funds Program, making available $21 million in federal funding for non-highway transportation projects. The Flexible Funds program, created by the Oregon Transportation Commission in 2010, funds bicycle, pedestrian, transit and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) projects, plans, programs and services. More...


  
Federal transportation funding could fall significantly
With the federal Highway Trust Fund’s balances running low, Oregon could lose $150-175 million a year in highway funding unless Congress finds additional revenue. More...




  
State Highway Fund revenue forecast falls (again)
With weak economic growth bedeviling efforts to climb out of the Great Recession, the State Highway Fund’s revenue forecast once again shows weaker collections of gas tax, weight-mile tax, and driver and vehicle fees than previously forecast. The June 2011 revenue forecast projects that all of the State Highway Fund’s revenue sources will be down over the next several years. In the 2011-13 and 2013-15 biennia, the combined loss of revenue compared to the last forecast is $110 million—a reduction of a little more than 2 percent from previous expectations. More...

 
August 2011


 
Online vehicle tag renewals hit record level
Launched in late 2003, online registration renewal allows people to renew license plate tags online instead of by mail or in person at a DMV field office. Most passenger vehicles, travel trailers and campers are eligible for online renewal at www.OregonDMV.com. Oregon vehicle owners hit a single-day record for online vehicle registration renewals on August 1st with 1,746. More...
 

  
Oregon Transportation Commission to meet at Port of Portland September 21
The Oregon Transportation Commission will meet at the Port of Portland’s new Headquarters Building, located at 7200 NE Airport Way next to PDX Airport in Portland, on Thursday, September 21. The meeting is open to the public. More...
 

  
Governor challenges Oregon Transportation Commission to create a 21st century transportation system
Governor Kitzhaber charged the Commission with developing new ways of doing business that will serve the state’s needs and advance its values into the future. "My challenge for you today is to revisit the underlying assumptions that have guided our policy and partner with all transportation users so that we can create a 21st century transportation system that best serves Oregonians," said Governor Kitzhaber. More...
 

  
Oregon Transportation Commission goes through major transition with resignation of chair Gail Achterman
 
Gail Achterman announced her resignation for health reasons in late August. Mike Nelson and Alan Brown also recently retired from the commission. Tammy Baney and Mark Frohnmayer had their first meeting with the OTC in July. More...
 

  
Electric vehicle fast charge station installation to start soon
 
ODOT has selected AeroVironment to supply, install, operate and maintain twenty-two electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations along major transportation corridors and travel destinations in northwest Oregon. More...
 

  
 State Radio Project moves forward
 
With an emphasis on repairing and modernizing rather than building new systems, the project is upgrading the existing radio systems for ODOT and the Oregon State Police to create an integrated statewide network. More...
 
  
I-5 southbound Willamette River Bridge opens two months ahead of schedule
 
Attendees had the rare opportunity to walk across the completed bridge before it opens to traffic, seeing the views the structure offers at a slower pace rather than at highway speeds. More...
 
  
Nation's largest solar highway breaks ground
Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez congratulated Oregon for its leadership in sustainable transportation as Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) and the Oregon Department of Transportation broke ground on the nation’s largest solar highway project. More...
 
  
Northwest passenger rail service breaks ridership records
A record number of people are choosing the Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service for their trips along the I-5 corridor between Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Ridership for April, May and June recorded the highest second quarter totals since the service started operating in 1994, with 231,194 passengers. More...
 

  
Oregon to receive $19.5 million in federal funding
 
The Oregon Department of Transportation submitted 74 project proposals requesting $112 million. Of project proposals submitted by ODOT, 16 were awarded funding totaling $19.5 million, out of a national total of $417.3 million awarded. Overall, Oregon received nearly 1 out of every 20 dollars awarded in the nation-- a rate nearly quadruple the state's normal share of funding. More... 
 
  
TIGER hunt begins
The US Department of Transportation has announced the opportunity to apply for $527 million in funding under the TIGER grant program, which funds surface transportation projects across all modes. Local governments have opportunity to seek Oregon Transportation Commission support for worthy TIGER applications. More...
 

  
 Children get safer ways to walk and bike to school
Ten communities across the state will be able to improve safety for children traveling to and from nearby schools on foot and by bicycle thanks to grants totaling $4 million under Oregon's Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. More...