The Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) program was introduced by the
House Bill 2017 Transportation Funding Package to fund public transportation improvements across Oregon. STIF funds may be used for public transportation purposes that support the effective planning, deployment, operation, and administration of public transportation programs. STIF funds may not be used for light rail capital expenses, and are not intended to supplant local funding sources to maintain existing services.
Investments from the STIF program have helped to make transportation in Oregon more equitable and affordable by supporting reduced-fare programs, expanded service coverage, and increased service frequency to low-income communities. This program has advanced greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts by funding the transition to low-emission vehicles. Funds have also supported expanded connectivity across Oregon's multimodal network through transit service, infrastructure, and technology improvements.
At its inception, the STIF program was funded solely by the Oregon "transit tax," which is a state payroll tax equal to one-tenth of 1 percent. The STIF program will also be funded by ID card fees, non-highway gas tax, and cigarette tax revenues once its merger with the Special Transportation Fund (STF) is effective July 1, 2023. The total funding amount will be estimated annually, and actual revenues will vary based on transit tax collections.
STIF revenues are allocated across four programs:
- 90% to STIF Formula
- 5% to STIF Discretionary
- 4% to STIF Intercommunity Discretionary
- 1% to Technical Resource Center
Key Terms on Recipient Eligibility
Qualified Entity (QE) - mass transit districts, transportation districts, counties without either a mass transit or transportation district, and federally-recognized tribes.
Map of ODOT QEs.
Public Transportation Service Provider (PTSP) - cities, counties, Qualified Entities, special districts, intergovernmental entities, and any other political subdivision or municipal or public corporation that provides public transportation services.
Sub-Recipient – any entity that has entered into an agreement with a recipient in order to complete one or more tasks specified in the agreement between the recipient and ODOT. These entities include nonprofits, private for-profits, and public entities.
The Formula Fund is intended to expand and improve public transportation services, and may also be used to support service maintenance and ongoing operations costs. There are no match requirements for STIF Formula funds.
ODOT disburses STIF Formula funds to Qualified Entities (QEs) based on population and taxes paid within their geographic area. Any QE wishing to receive STIF funding must submit a completed STIF Plan to ODOT by the submission deadline each biennium. The “STIF Plan" is the official application for STIF Formula funds.
Sub-recipients are eligible to receive STIF Formula funding through their QE by submitting project proposals to the QE's Advisory Committee. These sub-recipients can include Public Transportation Service Providers (PTSPs) and nonprofits, private for-profits, and public entities.
Discretionary Fund and Intercommunity Discretionary Fund Overview
STIF Discretionary and Intercommunity Discretionary funds are awarded to Public Transportation Service Providers to improve public transportation through a competitive grant process. The STIF Discretionary fund supports a wide variety of project types but cannot be used to fund ongoing operations. The Intercommunity Discretionary fund supports maintaining, expanding, and improving public transportation services between two or more communities. The Oregon Transportation Commission finalizes award decisions using criteria derived from statute and the Oregon Public Transportation Plan.
The Oregon Administrative Rules below guide implementation of the STIF program. Potential applicants should review the General, Formula, and Discretionary rules for information on funding eligibility, application processes, and other requirements.
Consolidation with the Special Transportation Fund (STF) Program
Consolidation of the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) public transportation funding programs was directed by Senate Bill 1601 which passed in the July 2020 First Special Session of the Oregon State Legislature. The purpose of this merger is to increase efficiency and funding reliability for public transportation providers throughout Oregon.
ODOT convened a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) in June 2021 to draft Oregon Administrative Rule revisions needed to consolidate the two programs. The Oregon Transportation Commission approved these rules in January 2022, and they will become effective July 1, 2023.