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Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) Section 18 Implementation
With the passage of the Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA), the 2009 Oregon Legislature directed ODOT to adopt administrative rules that:
  • Take into consideration environmental performance standards for all state highway construction projects and local government projects funded by ODOT.
  • Improve the environmental permitting process for highway construction projects.
ODOT is already meeting the intent of Section 18 in many ways, so this approach will build on our existing efforts to incorporate environmental performance standards (EPS) and improve the environmental permitting process for projects all around the state. 
Implementing Section 18 is an opportunity to:
  • Improve the project delivery process to achieve better outcomes from both business and environmental perspectives. 
  • Achieve greater efficiencies and improved environmental outcomes from the way transportation projects are designed, permitted, and constructed.
  • Address multiple stakeholder needs through collaborative development of EPS. 
ODOT has initiated rule-making necessary to implement the JTA.  Opportunities are available for the public and JTA stakeholders to review and comment on the draft rule.  Public input and questions on the draft rule are welcome –
For more information:
ODOT is also in the process of setting up working groups for the development of environmental performance standards (EPS) as required by the JTA. –

JTA Section 18 Language
(1) As used in this section, “highway” has the meaning given that term in ORS 801.305.
(2) The Department of Transportation shall adopt rules, taking into consideration the following:
    (a) Incorporating environmental performance standards into the design and construction of all  
         state highway construction projects, including local government highway construction
         projects funded by the department.
    (b) Improving the environmental permitting process for state highway construction projects in
         order to:
         (A) Reduce the time required to design projects and obtain environmental permits;
         (B) Reduce the cost and delay associated with redesigning projects to meet environmental
         (C) Maintain a strong commitment to environmental stewardship; and
         (D) Reduce this state’s dependence on foreign oil.

Implementation of Section 18
ODOT’s response to JTA Section 18 requirements is driven on input from stakeholders. Results from stakeholder outreach can help provide for sound decision-making, durable agreements between agencies, and ensure Section 18 is successfully implemented.  ODOT will work collaboratively with JTA stakeholders to help define the challenges, opportunities, and potential solutions that meet JTA statutory requirements.  
Summary of outreach conducted to date:
  • Listening Sessions– In 2009, Listening Sessions were conducted with ODOT, FHWA, and local government staff that have worked on projects that used existing programmatic permits (SLOPES IV and OTIA III Bridge Programmatic).
  • Web Surveys- Several web surveys were conducted in mid-2010. Results gathered from the surveys will help ODOT solve problems related to improving project delivery and our commitment to environmental stewardship. The surveys were intended to gather input, questions, and comments about Section 18 and what it means for future projects.
    JTA stakeholders include:
    • ODOT Staff
    • Federal Highway Administration
    • Local Governments
    • Regulatory and Resource Agencies
    • Tribes
    • Economic Revitalization Team
    • Private Sector
Internal and external outreach- - Results from the Listening Sessions and web surveys guided development of questions and interview protocol for small group interviews conducted in summer 2010. ODOT, FHWA, and local government staff were interviewed to further identify, prioritize, and frame issues for discussion. The results from the Listening Sessions, web surveys, and input from ODOT, FHWA, local government staff are being used to develop recommendations for implementation of Section 18. In fall 2010, ODOT’s regulatory partners and external stakeholders were interviewed in small group meetings. ODOT worked with these groups to help identify, prioritize, and frame issues and solutions. ODOT will engage its partners throughout this process.
The results from all outreach will be considered as ODOT develops a process to create new performance standards and agency agreements. Once the process has been developed, it will need to be vetted with both internal and external stakeholders.
Public input is welcomed. Comment forms are available to provide feedback on the draft rule and other aspects of the JTA 18 Section.

ODOT has initiated rule-making necessary to implement the JTA. ODOT’s goals for the adopted rule are to:
  • Provide high-level guiding principles.
  • Provide a flexible and effective framework for meeting Section 18 by defining an administrative process to develop EPS, policies, guidance, and procedures needed to ensure successful implementation.
  • Develop and implement EPS while also improving the permitting process, facilitating project delivery, and improving environmental stewardship.
ODOT initiated formal rule-making in January 2011 and plans to finalize the Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) following public comment and submittal to the Oregon Transportation Commission in May 2011.

ODOT is setting up EPS working groups to help develop resource-specific EPS that can be used in new agency agreements and programmatic permits.  Project charters are also being prepared that will guide these individual work groups, and establish goals and the approval process for final adoption of EPS.  In February 2011, ODOT will create a pilot EPS working team to draft the first EPS and prepare a solid foundation for the remainder of the EPS working groups.  ODOT anticipates EPS development to continue through the year, with final EPS ready by December 2011.

JTA Section 18 Development Teams
JTA Section 18 implementation is being conducted using a management structure consisting of an Executive Sponsor, Steering Team, Working Team, and Process Support Team.
The Executive Sponsor:
  • Acts as a vocal and visible project champion, legitimizes the project’s goals and objectives, and keeps abreast of major project activities.
  • Has the ultimate approval authority for process and deliverables.
  • Has final approval for project implementation strategies and major changes to project scope.
Paul Mather, ODOT Highway Division Administrator, is the current JTA Section 18 Executive Sponsor.
The JTA Steering Team
  • Provides vision and direction for the JTA Working Team (JTAT).
  • Reviews proposals and work products provided by the JTAT and seeks consensus on proposals made by the JTAT.
The JTA Working Team (JTAT):
  • Provides recommendations to the Steering Team on products and deliverables developed to implement Section 18 of the JTA.
  • Undertakes the bulk of the work and time investment for the project.
  • Works collaboratively with all teams to develop the program and to become champions for its full implementation.
The JTAT is actively seeking support and representation from ODOT Regions. Potential members should contact Jennifer Sellers (503)-731-8523, regarding work and time expectations prior to contacting their manager.
The Process Support Team:
  • Is lead by Oregon Consensus, an independent program of the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University, which provides a neutral forum and neutral services in support of collaborative, consensus-based public policy decision making for state agencies in Oregon.
  • Provides support to the project and works in partnership with the Executive Sponsor, Steering Team, JTAT, Subgroups, and other stakeholders to develop process recommendations.
  • Is a neutral collaborative process provider and will not take a position on any substantive issue.
  • Will work to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

JTA Section 18 Implementation Schedule

Questions or Comments
Please contact:
Jennifer Sellers
Environmental Program Manager
Oregon Department of Transportation
123 NW Flanders Street
Portland, OR 97209

ODOT pioneered a collaborative process a decade ago beginning when Northwest salmon runs were listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of the salmon listing, the permitting process became more complicated and seeking approval one agency at a time was leading to project delays and inefficiencies. ODOT was also encountering issues with integrating National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements into its Clean Water Act permitting process. At the same time, ODOT projects doubled due to an influx of funding from the newly allowed sale of state transportation bonds.
In an effort to improve meeting NEPA requirements and provide a multi-agency venue for problem-solving regarding environmental process, federal and Oregon State transportation and environmental agencies entered into an agreement in 2001 establishing Oregon’s Collaborative Environmental and Transportation Agreement for Streamlining (CETAS). CETAS comprises eleven federal and state agencies who meet monthly to, among other things, exchange information, work through a variety of issues regarding transportation projects, and monitor implementation of any CETAS agreements.
Since the inception of CETAS surface transportation planning has become an ever more complex system of intergovernmental planning and environmental compliance requirements. As a result, the process from project development to project implementation has become significantly longer with associated delays and cost increases.
In 2001, the Oregon Legislature passed the Oregon Transportation Investment Act (OTIA I), which increased a number of driver and motor vehicle fees to secure $400 million in bonds to finance a range of road infrastructure improvements. In 2002, OTIA II was passed thereby adding another $100 million for additional work. Combined with matching funds from local government, OTIA I and OTIA II provided funding for 160 projects across Oregon aimed at increasing lane capacity, improving interchanges, repairing and replacing bridges, and preserving road pavement.
In 2003, the State’s focus turned toward the hundreds of aging concrete bridges, causing ODOT to impose weight restrictions. The Economic and Bridge Options Report, produced by ODOT with the trucking industry and other stakeholders, estimated that Oregon’s deteriorating bridges could cost the state more than 88,000 jobs and $123 billion in lost productivity over the next 20 years if the situation were not rectified.
The Oregon Legislature responded to this by passing House Bill 2041 in July 2003, which enacted OTIA III. The third phase of OTIA provided $2.46 billion for Oregon transportation infrastructure over a 10-year period, including $1.3 billion for repair or replacement of the state highway system’s aging bridges. The OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program (Bridge Program) was promoted as serving a dual purpose: road infrastructure improvement and job creation.  Due to the sheer number of projects and short delivery time frame, the Bridge Program established a series of environmental process improvements intended to expedite delivery and improve project outcomes.  This was made possible through new agreements with resource agencies, development of environmental performance standards, and use of programmatic permits.
At the foundation of the Bridge Program is ODOT’s Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions (CS3) Initiative. The program has its origin in the FHWA model of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS), which began as the outgrowth of a 1998 conference ”Thinking Beyond the Pavement.”
The Governor’s Transportation Vision Committee (Vision Committee), comprised of representatives from state government, the Oregon Legislature, the private sector, public agencies, nonprofit organizations and local government, worked together for over a year to develop the 2008 Transportation Vision Committee Report to Governor Ted Kulongoski with recommendations to focus on how to make a new investment in the transportation system that creates jobs for Oregon’s workers, a sustainable environment for our children, and expand transportation choices for Oregonians. These recommendations helped to develop the JTA.
The Vision Committee made several recommendations pertinent to Section 18. The Vision Committee recommended broadening the use of environmental standards to all transportation construction projects funded with state funds. The Vision Committee also recommended that ODOT expand the use of performance-based permitting beyond OTIA III to permit significant portions of the STIP such as bridge and modernization projects.