Connect Oregon is an initiative to invest in air, rail, marine, and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure to ensure Oregon’s transportation system is strong, diverse, and efficient. For the $427 million available through Connect Oregon I through VI (including CORA) there have been:
- 603 project applications received,
- 282 projects funded,
- $1.003 billion in grants and loans requested.
Important changes to Connect Oregon resulted from the passage of HB 2017:
- Public transit projects are no longer included in Connect Oregon.
- The Connect Oregon Fund now has a portion of the new vehicle dealer privilege fee and the new $15 bicycle excise tax in addition to lottery-backed bonds as funding sources. The bicycle excise tax will only go towards bicycle/pedestrian projects.
- The Oregon Transportation Commission is directed to distribute Connect Oregon funds to four specific projects:
- Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Facility ($25 million).
- Treasure Valley Intermodal Facility ($26 million).
- Rail expansion in East Beach Industrial Park at the Port of Morrow ($6.55 million).
- Brooks rail siding extension ($2.6 million).
No competitive process at this time.
Because available funds must first go to the projects listed above, we do not anticipate that there will be funding available in the 2017-2019 biennium for a competitive Connect Oregon program like the ones we’ve had in the previous six versions of the program. After the four projects listed above have been funded, and if funding is available, we will announce next steps, such as for a competitive grant process that may occur in 2019-2021 or 2021-2023 biennia.
2017 Temporary Rulemaking
ODOT drafted a temporary rule to establish common, consistent criteria and timelines for project plans for the four projects listed above to ensure all potential project sponsors have the same opportunity to submit plan proposals and to ensure that plan proposals will be evaluated against fair and common criteria. The Oregon Transportation Commission will consider the temporary rule for adoption and receive public comment at its meeting on September 22, 2017. If approved, the temporary rule would take effect on October 6, 2017.
Division 35 Section 731 Temporary Rule
ConnectOregon projects are eligible for grants that cover up to 70 percent of project costs. A minimum 30 percent cash match is required from the recipient for all grant funded projects (except Class I Railroads which now have a 50 percent match). Projects eligible for funding from state fuel tax revenues (section 3a, Article IX of the Oregon Constitution, the Highway Trust Fund), are not eligible for ConnectOregon funding.
If a highway or public road element is essential to the complete functioning of the proposed project, applicants are encouraged to work with their Oregon Department of Transportation region, city, or county to identify the necessary funding sources.
Rules & Statutes