The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) developed the first State Rail Plan in 1978, and most recently the Agency updated it in 2001
. The Rail Plan is a state modal transportation plan under the 2006 Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP)
and a key element of Oregon's transportation planning program. The Rail Plan and other statewide transportation modal plans (e.g. Oregon Public Transportation Plan) and topic plans (e.g. Oregon Freight Plan) further define and implement the OTP's goals, policies and strategies for managing, developing and investing in Oregon's transportation system.
The 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) increased the level of state involvement in rail transportation and rail planning. PRIIA requires states to produce and update a state rail plan to establish policy, priorities and implementation strategies for freight and passenger rail transportation.