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Public Transportation Division News

As of 3/16/2020 all coronavirus updates and information will be shared on the COVID-19 page.

Latest News

November 17, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced $7.7 million in Tribal Transit Program grant awards to 25 tribal governments for projects to improve public transportation on tribal lands.

"These federal grants will help American Indian and Alaskan Native tribal governments provide public transportation in rural areas, connecting tribal residents with jobs, healthcare and other essential services," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Tribal Transit Program makes funds available to federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities to support capital projects, operating costs, and planning activities for public transportation services on and around tribal lands. 

One tribal government in Oregon was awarded funds. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will receive $350,000 in funding to purchase new transit vehicles to replace aging vehicles that have exceeded their useful life.

July 31, 2020

New Regional Transit Coordinator Assignments in Region 2

Effective July 15, 2020, the ODOT Public Transportation Division (PTD) is changing several areas of regional transit coordinator (RTC) responsibility. The change involves moving Lincoln County Transportation District and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians to Arla Miller's area of responsibility (Region 2A) and moving Salem Area Mass Transit District, the City of Silverton and the City of Woodburn to Mark Bernard's area of responsibility (Region 2B).

This change will align the working relationships Arla and Mark have with Tribal governments, MPO areas and other transit providers in Region 2, and will provide local support with more efficiency. The realignment leverages RTC expertise and geographic location and will enhance PTD's collaboration and coordination with transit stakeholders.

Arla is located in Astoria and can be reached on 503-949-5415,

Mark is located in Salem and can be reached at 503-986-2836,

June 10, 2020

Public Transportation Division Reorganization Announcement

From Karyn Criswell, PTD Administrator

I'm pleased to share the new structural organization of the Oregon Department of Transportation Public Transportation Division (PTD) (formerly the Rail and Public Transit Division). This is part of ODOT's overall shift to organized staff by shared functions, rather than by mode or user group, to improve our internal knowledge transfer, strategically align our priorities, and increase efficiency. Read more at this link:  Shared Functions.

PTD's new organization helps us more fully integrate public transportation, pedestrian and bicycle travel, and passenger rail into the division and the department's work to address our climate goals, infuse equity principles and equitable access to transportation throughout our work, and support congestion relief strategies that include multimodal transportation options.

PTD falls within ODOT's Operations functional group, led by ODOT's Assistant Director for Operations, one of four new assistant directors who oversee the entirety of the department with the intent of improving multimodal and cross-divisional integration.

Our Division's Mission

PTD exercises statewide leadership and vision for public transportation, walking and biking, and passenger rail by promoting, developing, funding and managing multimodal statewide networks of transportation systems and facilities. These systems and facilities provide access to Oregon's residents and visitors, provide efficient movement of commerce, support healthy sustainable travel choices, improve safety, and promote Oregon's economy.

The New Structure

The new structure integrates our functions into four units. Read the more detailed organization chart at this link: PTD Organization Chart.

Public Transportation Division Simplified Organizational Chart

Policy and Strategic Investment Unit

  • Develops strategies, prioritizes investments, and advances work efforts to create a more modern and integrated statewide multimodal system which includes pedestrian and bike facilities, freight rail operations, and public transportation, including passenger rail.
  • Manages and develops program guidance and project selection criteria and maximizes the value of transportation investments locally, regionally, and statewide.
  • Encourages consideration  of multimodal options to meet our climate, equity, and congestion relief goals

Program Implementation Unit

  • Implements PTD policies, goals, strategies, and programs.
  • Implements investment strategies through regional transit coordinators, regional staff, and local agency partners.
  • Manages delivery of internal and external stakeholder technical assistance and trainings.

Rail Operations and Statewide Multimodal Network Unit

  • Manages contracted delivery of public transportation services, including passenger rail.
  • Facilitates local partnerships to fill gaps in the statewide public transportation network.
  • Coordinates with public transportation providers and local governments to better integrate all modes and communicate transportation options.
  • Manages data and related systems to improve understanding of the multimodal transportation network and connections across modes for the traveling public and system managers.

Program Services Unit

  • Manages federal, state, and grant recipient compliance, including reporting in the Oregon Public Transit Information System, the National Transit Database, and FTA TrAMS.
  • Develops and oversees compliance review program in coordination with site review contractors.
  • Creates guidance in collaboration with other PTD units to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Calculates formula program allocations; determines and administers distributions to partner agencies.

The Leadership Team and Modal Points of Contact
Division leadership includes staff members that represent multimodal perspectives.

  • Karyn Criswell, Public Transportation Division Administrator
  • Marsha Hoskins, Policy and Implementation Manager (Public Transportation)
  • Susan Peithman, Policy and Strategic Investment Unit Lead (Pedestrian and Bicycle)
  • Jennifer Sellers, Interim Rail Operations and Statewide Multimodal Network Manager (Rail Operations and Freight Rail)
  • Rick Shankle, Program Services Manager
  • Maile Boals, Grant Services Manager Lead

Next Steps

As we work towards full implementation we will keep you updated, with a commitment to continue providing excellent service. During the transition, please continue to reach out to your regular contacts and let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for working with us to make Oregon a better place for all.

June 5, 2020

FTA today announced $3.5 million in grants for 17 projects in 16 states to improve mobility and access to public transportation for older adults, people with disabilities and individuals of low income. ODOT Public Transportation Division will receive $40,000 to expand its transit data system to an open source format, providing standardized discovery and analysis for use throughout Oregon. Lane Transit District will receive $76,000 in funding directly, to acquire technology to develop a customer portal that provides online booking and cancellation. Funding is provided through FTA's Mobility for All Pilot Program.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced this funding opportunity as part of an Access and Mobility for All Summit held in October 2019 at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she announced a number of new initiatives to improve access to transportation.

FTA's Mobility for All Pilot Program seeks to improve mobility options through employing innovative coordination of transportation strategies and building partnerships to enhance mobility and access to vital community services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and people of low income.   

April 16, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a $42.7 million grant award to the Oregon Department of Transportation as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, 2020. The grant will provide funding for rural transit operations throughout the state, including preventive maintenance, project administration, intercity bus operations, and direct and indirect state administration costs related to the response to the Coronavirus public health emergency. See FTA's apportionment tables for the totals apportioned to each area. (This funding is based on the agency's current request and may not represent the full amount the agency will receive.)

“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation's public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

“We know that many of our nation's public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “These federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies of all sizes providing essential travel and supporting transit workers across the country who are unable to work because of the public health emergency."

To learn more about how ODOT plans to disburse these funds, please read the communication sent on April 9th, CARES Act Funds Disbursement.

April 2, 2020

This morning the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released apportionment tables for the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or “CARES Act." This legislation includes provisions for new transit funding to assist providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding package is the largest transit appropriation in history and will benefit recipients of Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants and Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas.

Details on apportionments to Oregon are listed below. Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas funds will be distributed by the Oregon Department of Transportation to subrecipients of the 5311 program. More details about this distribution will be forthcoming in a separate communication early next week that will include the application process and schedule. Although the timing of funding availability is contingent on grant review and approvals by FTA, ODOT hopes to make funds available to our Section 5311 sub-recipients by late May.  

Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants and Section 5311(c) Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Formula Grants will both be administered directly between the FTA and direct recipients. We encourage direct recipients to work with their FTA contacts for details on the obligation and timing of disbursement of these funds.

Administered by ODOT:

Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas: $42,686,023

Directly Administered between FTA and Recipients:

Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grants:

  • Large Urban:
    • Portland: $176,302,899[i]
    • Eugene: $25,533,427
    • Salem: $15,668,434
  • Small Urban:
    • Albany: $2,815,285
    • Bend: $3,871,978
    • Corvallis: $7,354,971
    • Grants Pass: $2,300,237
    • Longview, WA-OR: $136,724[ii]
    • Medford: $7,711,666
    • Walla-Walla, WA-OR: $647,389[iii]

5311(c) Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Formula Grants:

  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians: $65,472
  • Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon: $103,788
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation: $469,532
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs: $69,237
  • Klamath Tribes: $99,520

Additionally, the FTA released an updated FAQ about CARES Act funding, that is available at:


American Public Transportation Association:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


National RTAP:



Tax Foundation:

[i] This is the Oregon portion of the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan Area allocation.

[ii] This is the Oregon portion of the bi-state urbanized area allocation.

[iii] This is the Oregon portion of the bi-state urbanized area allocation.

March 13, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions from FTA Grantees Regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

These FAQs provide clarity regarding how COVID-19 preparations impact certain FTA requirements. They also contain recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help grantees and subgrantees prepare for COVID-19.

As part of our effort to support a coordinated DOT approach to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), FTA has created a email account to receive all stakeholder questions on the topic.

March 12, 2020

State of Oregon - Updated Mitigation Measures on Coronavirus Response

Pursuant to directives from Governor Brown, the State of Oregon is issuing the following guidance, with the primary goal of slowing transmission of the coronavirus in Oregon in order to protect the most vulnerable Oregonians, and to protect our state’s health care system capacity. This guidance follows updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released March 10, 2020, and the World Health Organization’s designation of COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Transit-related Recommendations

Individuals and entities providing transit services are recommended to:

  • Post or play reminders to stay home when sick;
  • Encourage individual to travel only when essential;
  • Avoid crowding, and encourage social distancing;
  • Increase cleaning.
Ride shares are encouraged to clean regularly and have windows down, when

Here is the full updated mitigation measures on Coronavirus response.

March 4, 2020

Across North America, public transportation agencies continue to assess their response plans for a possible COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

APTA supports the transit industry as you continue your mission to move the public, support your local communities, and prepare your workforce.

To assist in your efforts to plan for COVID-19, APTA is making the following resources available:

APTA will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and post updates to our COVID-19 webpage. Thank you for your diligence and careful planning to keep riders and employees safe and on the move.

Additional Resources

March 2, 2020

Update on Fiscal Year 2019 Grants for Section 5339(b) Bus and Bus Facilities

FTA announced on November 25, 2019 that $423 million in grants are being awarded nationwide to revitalize America's bus infrastructure. ODOT Public Transportation Division will receive approximately $1.6 million of those competitively awarded funds on behalf of four agencies. Salem Area Mass Transit District will receive a $1.05 million award as a direct recipient.

  • Yamhill County Transit will receive $999,968 for a bus replacement and expansion project.
  • The City of Woodburn will receive $300,000 to replace the oldest bus in their fleet with a new heavy-duty transit bus.
  • Mid-Columbia Economic Development District will receive $150,126 to replace 2 LINK buses.
  • The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians will receive $110,500 to purchase a bus for a new rural public transportation bus route between the communities of Eugene and Florence, Oregon.
  • Salem Area Mass Transit District will receive $1,054,240 to implement intelligent transportation system improvements including transit signal priority technology and real time passenger information systems.

Fiscal Year 2019 Bus and Bus Facilities Projects Awarded

February 28, 2020

APTA to Host Webinar on Public Transit Response to Coronavirus

Across the country, public transportation agencies continue to assess their response plans for a possible COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. To assist its members in this effort, APTA will host a webinar, "Transit's Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)," March 5 from 12:00-1:15 p.m. PST.

Transit agency CEOs, federal officials and infectious-disease specialists will discuss best practices and how to prepare an agency for a potential spread of the virus. They will draw on strategies agencies have used to approach SARS and other infectious diseases.

In addition, APTA will provide an overview of its standard on "Developing a Contagious Virus Response Plan" and discuss Transportation Research Board publications on disease planning and response. Register here.

Related Resources

January 29, 2020

ODOT has a new leader for the Public Transportation Division. Karyn Criswell steps into the role of division administrator February 1, 2020.

"We are excited to tap into Karyn’s experience bringing diverse interests together to forge partnerships that improve the public and active transportation system as an integral part of our state’s transportation system," said Cooper Brown, ODOT’s Assistant Director for Operations.

Criswell will oversee the passenger rail and transit programs administered by ODOT. This will also include things like bicycle and pedestrian programs and other transportation options.

“I’m excited to more fully integrate ODOT’s multimodal services within the agency so that our approach to managing the statewide transportation system includes more equitable access to public transportation, passenger rail, and bike and pedestrian options for all Oregonians,” said Criswell. “Enhancing these transportation options is key to several challenges facing our state including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing transportation options for our growing population, and managing congestion in our urban areas.”

Criswell has over 20 years of transportation experience in the private and public sector, with the last five years in various roles with the former ODOT Rail and Transit Division. She most recently led a team to develop and deliver the $200 million per biennium Oregon State Transportation Improvement Fund, a new state public transportation program created by the 2017 legislature. Prior to joining ODOT, Karyn spent 15 years in the private sector providing communications and planning consulting services on a wide range of transportation projects throughout the Pacific Northwest.

January 28, 2020

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced $5.4 million in grant selections as part of FTA's Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative at an event at U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters. Twenty-four organizations across the country will each receive funding for projects to help prevent human trafficking and other crimes on public transportation. A list of the selected projects is available online.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, affecting millions of adults and children in the United States and worldwide. Traffickers move their victims on all modes of transportation, and sometimes use public transit due to its low cost, greater anonymity in buying fare cards, and less direct interaction with government or transit officials.

FTA’s Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative supports USDOT’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative. The Department’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking completed a report in July 2019 that recommends actions the Department can take to help combat human trafficking and best practices for states and local transportation stakeholders.

January 23, 2020

FTA today announced a $87.4 million grant to the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) for the Division Transit Project. The project will provide faster, more reliable transit service between Downtown Portland, Southeast and East Portland, and Gresham.

The project is a new 15-mile bus rapid transit line between Portland’s Central Business District and Gresham. The total project cost is $175 million with $87.4 million in funding requested through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

The CIG Program, which provides funding for major transit infrastructure projects nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process according to requirements in law to be eligible for consideration to receive program funds.

Since January 20, 2017, FTA has advanced funding for 25 new CIG projects throughout the nation totaling approximately $7.5 billion in funding commitments. With today’s funding announcement, this Administration has executed 20 CIG funding agreements totaling more than $4.50 billion in CIG funding.


CARES Act Apportionment Information for Oregon, April 2020

Expanded Federal Assistance for Section 5311 Subrecipients Updated April 16, 2020

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