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Oregon State Rail Plan Implementation Plan

Through the Oregon Transportation Plan  (OTP), the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) established a policy foundation to guide statewide transportation system development and investment. The OTP is augmented by mode and topic plans, including the Oregon State Rail Plan (OSRP). The OSRP explores the issues affecting the state's rail freight and passenger system and describes existing conditions and forecasts, and provides a comprehensive inventory of rail infrastructure needs. 

Unlike highway or transit systems, the rail network is predominantly owned by private industry, requiring a unique public- and private-sector collaboration to proactively plan and explore the best mix of transportation investments to ensure a safe, efficient, and reliable rail network for the benefit of Oregon’s residents and businesses.

Given the comprehensive list of passenger and freight rail needs, limited state funding, and growing political, business and public interest in rail, a standardized approach is needed to catalog and update projects and to streamline and methodize their tracking and prioritization.

Rail Needs Inventory

The list of passenger and freight needs was used to develop the Rail Needs Inventory (RNI), a project database and an overarching decision framework to guide investment and programming decisions.

This approach to implementation planning will:

  • Identify and assess rail projects that could be implemented or supported by ODOT
  • Streamline and standardize the tracking and funding prioritization of rail projects
  • Support transparency and thorough documentation of decision-making
  • Leverage federal, state and private funds

The decision framework includes a ranking methodology that considers grant funding requirements and roles of ODOT and partner agencies.

The Rail Needs Inventory is a user-friendly, interactive dashboard containing:

  • A list of potential projects
  • A description of the project characteristics (location, ownership, operations)
  • The results of the project evaluation, organized within 6 Factors and 22 Evaluation Criteria

The Rail Needs Inventory was developed in 2021/22 by Agency staff, Technical Advisory Committee Stakeholders, and a Working Group of the Rail Advisory Committee.

A series of workshops were held to discuss and develop the Factors, Evaluation Criteria, Scoring Methods, and approach to supporting data requirements.