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The Oregon Transportation Commission, or OTC, has formed a Rulemaking Advisory Committee to amend the Oregon Safe Routes to School Rule (OAR 737-025). The purpose of the committee is to align the rule with new funding made available by recent state legislation, and consider how infrastructure funding for Safe Routes to School should be structured. The committee is advisory to the Oregon Department of Transportation and OTC.
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Safe Routes to Schools Rulemaking Advisory Committee Roster
In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2017, which includes funding for safe biking and walking connections to schools. Section 123 of HB 2017 specifies parameters for how to use the money. HB 2017 requires $10 million per year be taken off-the-top and deposited into the Safe Routes to School, or SRTS, Fund (ORS 184.740) until 2023, when that amount increases to $15 million per year. HB 2017 specifies a few program design elements, including match rates and priority locations. A cash match of 40 percent is required, which may be reduced to 20 percent in locations near Title I schools, safety corridors (to be defined by the OTC), or within small communities (population 5,000 or less). HB 2017 requires the OTC to prioritize SRTS projects within one mile of elementary and middle schools. The OTC has authority over all other program design and administration aspects of the SRTS Fund, including the ability to adopt rules specifying the application process and selection criteria and as guided by the existing statute (ORS 184.740).
Many of the elements outlined in the HB 2017 legislation need to be more clearly defined prior to the development of the new infrastructure program. A Rulemaking Advisory Committee was formed to do this work and guide amendments to the administrative rule (OAR 737-025) that governs the existing Safe Routes to School Fund. Amendments are needed to better align with the legislative intent, any restrictions of the funding source and current and future needs.
The committee is a volunteer group charged with reviewing OAR 737-025 and making recommendations to the OTC on amendments needed. The group will need to work under the program design parameters established by the OTC, help clarify and interpret HB 2017, identify objectives and priorities of the SRTS Fund, consider eligibility and project selection criteria, think about solicitation processes and timing, and determine what should go into rule versus program guidance. Overall, the committee should consider ways to streamline and simplify the OARs. Currently, the OARs include very specific information on ODOT responsibility and prioritization criteria. That level of detail may restrict the flexibility of the OTC to modify prioritization criteria as the program is adjusted and adapted over time.
The efforts of the committee will culminate when the final draft OAR amendments are submitted to the OTC in spring 2018, and finalized in the summer.
Revised Rule Filing Notice
The committee has completed the work tasked by the Oregon Transportation Commission. No future meetings are scheduled.
Safe Routes to School Program page
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