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A History and Overview of OTIA
Overview
Coastal bridge photo
The Oregon Transportation Investment Act marks a new era of change and innovation in the Oregon Department of Transportation. To deliver OTIA projects, ODOT made fundamental changes in the way it delivers the final product — a healthy transportation infrastructure for Oregonand more jobs for Oregonians.
 
Good roads, bridges and highways keep Oregon's economy strong. Workers use the transportation system to get to their jobs every morning. Businesses depend on the delivery of materials and supplies to prosper. Every corner of Oregon relies on transportation in one way or another for economic vitality and quality of life.
 

The needs gap
At the turn of the 21st century, the Oregon Department of Transportation warned of an ever-widening gap between needed work to improve Oregon’s roads and the funds to pay for it. The state’s transportation system was aging, and many bridges were reaching the end of their design life.
 
Roadway use was increasing, but there was no corresponding increase in highway funds to pay for wear and tear. It was clear that Oregon needed to do something to provide a strong infrastructure for Oregon’s economy.
 

OTIA I and II
170+ projects, $672 million
The 2001 Legislature took the first two of three major steps toward helping Oregon’s transportation systems. House Bill 2142, also referred to as the Oregon Transportation Investment Act I (OTIA I), increased several Driver and Motor Vehicle fees to secure $400 million in bonds to increase lane capacity and improve interchanges ($200 million), repair and replace bridges ($130 million), and preserve road pavement ($70 million).
 
Favorable bond rates resulted in the passage of the second phase of the OTIA program during the first legislative session in 2002. OTIA II added $50 million for projects to increase lane capacity and improve highway interchanges, $45 million for additional bridge projects, and $5 million to preserve road pavement.
 
The $500 million in bonds from OTIA I and II was combined with matching funds from local governments. This allowed ODOT and local governments to deliver transportation projects across Oregonworth a total of $672 million.
 
ODOT is scheduled to complete more than 170 projects with funds from OTIA I and II, including:
  • more than 50 modernization projects increase lane capacity and improve interchanges;
  • more than 50 projects to repair or replace bridges owned by cities, counties, and the state of Oregon; and
  • more than 40 projects to fix and repave state highways and local roads.
Projects for the first two phases of the OTIA program were selected through an extensive public input process. Local governments and Area Commissions on Transportation worked together to recommend project lists to the Oregon Transportation Commission, which approved the final choices. The OTC received requests for about five times as much funding as was available—an indication of the unmet needs that still exist.
 
It is estimated that most of the projects in the first two phases of the OTIA program will be open to traffic by 2009.
 

OTIA III
weight restrictions sign
OTIA III: Bridges and our economy
The third phase of the Oregon Transportation Investment Act focuses on bridges: a vital link in our transportation infrastructure. In 2003, ODOT produced the Economic and Bridge Options Report with the trucking industry and other stakeholders, describing aging concrete bridges and the effect on Oregon’s economy and future productivity. During the interstate-construction era of the late 1950s, bridges were often built using a reinforced concrete deck girder design. The report revealed that these bridges were nearing or past their life expectancy. Many of the weakened bridges required load limits.
 
Load limits impede the flow of goods, people and services throughout the state. Heavy trucks are forced to detour around load-limited bridges, adding time and cost to their journeys. Higher transportation costs increase the cost of consumer goods for every Oregonian. The Economic and Bridge Options Report concluded that Oregon’s deteriorating bridges, if left unaddressed, had the potential to cost the state more than 88,000 jobs and $123 billion in lost productivity over the next 20 years.

Building on the success of the first two phases of the OTIA program, the 2003 Legislature addressed Oregon ’s problems of aging, bridges, realizing that this would also support the state's economic health. Signed into law by Gov. Kulongoski on July 28, 2003, the third phase of the OTIA program uses existing ODOT funds and federal advance construction money, as well as increases in title, registration, and other Driver and Motor Vehicle fees, to bond a total of $2.46 billion.
 
The bonded funds are being spent as follows:
  • $1.3 billion to repair or replace more than 300 state bridges; 
  • $300 million to repair or replace about 140 local bridges; 
  • $361 million for city and county road maintenance and preservation; and 
  • $500 million for modernization (these funds are not new revenue; about $25 million per year for about 20 years, from ODOT's annual modernization budget of about $56 million).
As of June 30, 2006, 11 OTIA III bridge program projects are complete and 60 percent are in design, under construction or complete.
 
ODOT periodically forecasts transportation revenues.
 
See the most recent Transportation Revenue and Economic Forecast.
 
ODOT also forecasts the amount of revenues to be distributed to counties and cities. See the estimated apportionments to counties and cities for the coming fiscal years.
 
ODOT publishes the amount of money distributed to each county and each city during the fiscal year. Review the actual distributions.