American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
ARRA transportation funds create lasting impact in Oregon
Dignitaries celebrate project completion
Since early 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has supported Oregon’s economy and residents in many ways, including funding hundreds of transportation-related projects around the state.
ODOT had more than 200 projects funded in part through ARRA. At the end of Sept. 2012, construction was complete on nearly all of the ARRA-funded projects; only 11 projects have work still remaining. To date, ODOT has distributed over $261 million to small and large businesses throughout the region, helping support Oregon’s economy.
Projects range from replacing the Buena Vista ferry to paving large sections of Interstate 5, and from building bike paths in both rural and urban areas to updating railroad stations. ARRA funds are helping Oregon businesses and Oregon workers, along with crews from ODOT, shore up the public’s investment in transportation infrastructure all over the state.
Examples of Projects
Paul Brothers of Boring won the contract to improve safety along U.S. 20 in Philomath. Crews improved the median and landscaping in a project totaling $262,790.
Harney Rock and Paving of Burns completed a paving project in Harney County for $411,385; Lightworks Electric of Tualatin upgraded signals throughout Marion County for $414,906.
The U.S. 97 Lava Butte to South Century Drive project in Deschutes County used $16 million in ARRA funds to increase capacity, improve safety and protect wildlife on this popular stretch of highway south of Bend. A ribbon-cutting ceremony in Sept. 2011 celebrated the project accomplishments, which include:
Knife River Northwest was the prime contractor on the project.
- Increasing traffic capacity of US 97 between South Century Drive and Lava Butte by constructing a four lane highway (two lanes in each direction).
- Improving safety by separating northbound and southbound traffic with a forested median of up to a maximum width of 108 feet.
- Reducing congestion by changing the Cottonwood Road interchange from a partial to a full diamond interchange.
- Eliminating dangerous intersections by constructing alternative access to Lava Lands Visitor’s Center and Lava River Cave via Crawford Road and Cottonwood Road.
- Reducing wildlife/vehicle crashes and facilitate wildlife movement by build four structures under US 97.
|Recovery Act Accomplishments Report|
|Putting Oregon back to work |
ODOT's Recovery Act Accomplishment Report (pdf), from Feb. 2010, details how ARRA is helping to keep Oregon on the move by putting Oregon back to work. Among the most important accomplishments under the Recovery Act:
- Jobs were created quickly, putting Oregon contractors and workers back on the job within months;
- Multi-modal investments improved Oregon’s transportation system, reducing congestion, providing better transit options, and helping Oregon companies move their goods to market;
- Local communities were able to fund priority projects;
- Jobs were distributed throughout the state, particularly in Economically Distressed Areas;
- ODOT developed new ways to move projects through the federal environmental process quickly and at reduced cost.
The Recovery Act provided an excellent opportunity to improve Oregon's surface transportation system - and thereby improve the health of the state's economy and its communities. The downtown Maupin Revitalization project, funded in part with $800,000 in ARRA funds, is just one example of how Recovery Act money is benefiting Oregon.
In order to give the City of Maupin's downtown a facelift, the city and ODOT teamed up to design and construct a project that included new curbing, sidewalks, bulb-outs at the cross street intersections, brick pavers, tree grates for future street tree plantings and ornamental street lights along both sides of U.S. 197 between Burnham Avenue and 3rd Street.
ARRA funding allowed restoration of a portion of the project that had been cut due to lack of funds. As a result of this joint city-state project, downtown Maupin is much more inviting to tourists, and new opportunities have been created for downtown development.
Watch video of the community's response to the improvements.
|High Speed Rail|
Moving people in the Pacific Northwest
An Amtrak train pulls into Portland's Union Station.
The federally designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor, or PNWRC, traveling the verdant valleys between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon, has been the subject of “high speed” passenger rail planning and implementation studies since the 1960s. The Federal Railroad Administration defines high speed rail as service that is reasonably expected to reach speeds of at least 110 mph. Though it’s not high speed, the states of Washington and Oregon have hosted intercity passenger rail service on the PNWRC since 1994. Planning efforts in 1992, 2001 and again in 2006 conclude that the Willamette Valley section of the PNWRC between Eugene and Portland should expand intercity passenger rail service to meet expected population growth in the region.
Amtrak currently serves area
Existing state-sponsored service in Oregon consists of two Amtrak Cascades trips per day and three Thruway bus trips per day, in addition to the Amtrak-sponsored Coast Starlight operating daily from Los Angeles to Seattle. Planned increases for passenger service include the addition of a third Cascades round trip in 2017, a fourth in 2020, a fifth in 2023, and a sixth in 2030.
The future moves faster
Oregon’s goal is to provide increased, reliable, safe, and sustainable passenger rail service that is compatible with freight rail operations within the Oregon segment of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor between Portland and Eugene. Specifically, Oregon wants to:
- Increase average passenger train speeds (from 42 to 65 miles per hour)
- Increase maximum passenger train speeds (from 79 to 110 miles per hour)
- Reduce passenger rail trip time between Eugene and Portland (from 2 hours and 35 minutes to 1 hour and 55 minutes – the same time as it takes to drive between these cities along the freeway)
- Increase on-time performance of passenger trains (from 68 percent to 95 percent or higher)
ARRA funds awarded
The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $8 billion to jumpstart the development of improved high speed intercity passenger rail service in the United States. The PNWRC received $598 million. Of that amount, Oregon was awarded $8 million in the first round and continues to compete for funding.
|The ARRA contains substantial funding for public transportation. |
On April 15, 2009, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved $14.6 million in ARRA funds to rural transit districts through the 5311 grant program managed by ODOT’s Public Transit Division. The list includes grants for vehicle replacement, vehicle repairs, capital improvements, equipment and more.
In addition, transit districts in six urban areas in Oregon-- Portland, Salem/Keizer, Eugene/Springfield, Corvallis, Medford, and Bend-- will receive allocations of funding through the Federal Transit Administration.
|TIGER Surface Transportation Discretionary Grants|
|ARRA provided $1.5 billion in discretionary grants for surface transportation projects across all transportation modes. The U.S. Department of Transportation has named this the TIGER grant program. ODOT and local governments submitted more than 20 applications for transportation projects. |
On Feb. 17, 2010, the U.S. DOT announced the recipients of the TIGER grants. A total of 51 projects across the country were funded. The only project receiving funding in Oregon was the City of Portland's Innovation Quadrant - SW Moody Street and Streetcar Reconstruction. The project received $23.2 million for road, streetcar and bicycle/pedestrian improvements to the South Waterfront area of Portland.
|Local Government Funding|
|ARRA provides local governments in Oregon about $100 million in highway program funding. Metropolitan planning organizations, cities over 5,000 that are not in an MPO, and counties are in charge of selecting projects to compete with this funding. |
Overview of local government funding (pdf)
Allocations of funding to local governments (pdf)
Jurisdictions that did not receive an annual allocation of Surface Transportation Program funds competed for funding under a small cities grant program that awarded nearly $5 million to 52 projects.
Small cities program projects (pdf)