Bicycling safety

Officials in Tillamook County and cities such as Tillamook, Manzanita and Neskowin, remain hopeful for a fair share of needed transportation funding through the 2021 federal government infrastructure package.

The federal package allocated $1.2 billion in additional transportation funding for the entire state of Oregon over the next few years. Approximately $800 million of that spending is directed to specific purposes. The remaining $412 million was not specifically allocated.

The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) has formally directed the $412 million in flexible funds be invested in the following ways:

• $95 million for improving accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

• $30 million to fund new Safe Routes to Schools projects that make it safer for children to walk or roll to school.

• $15 million to assist local governments to reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions by planning climate-friendly communities.

• $50 million to transform state-owned arterials in urban areas to reflect their status as community main streets and to make them safer to use for people walking near and traveling on these roads.

• $50 million to complete a number of highway and interchange improvements to streamline the movement of goods.

• $40 million in matching funds to help Oregon compete effectively for billions of dollars in competitive federal grant opportunities that will be awarded in the coming years by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

• $75 million to repair damaged and unsafe roadways in Oregon.

• $7 million for business and workforce development to help grow small construction contracting firms and to increase the size and diversity of the construction workforce.

• $10 million to fund a new mobility program that will work directly with community-based organizations to fund micro-mobility efforts with equity as a central priority of this pilot project.

• $40 million to fund maintenance and operations activities which have become increasingly underfunded.

With the commission’s investment decisions, combined with the federal funds directly allocated to other transportation investment categories, Oregon’s share of the federal infrastructure package will be divided as follows:

• Sustainable and equitable transportation investments – 34 percent.

• Highway, bridge, and other maintenance and repair projects – 36 percent.

• State and local safety investments – 18 percent.

• Americans with disabilities improvements – 8 percent.

• Highway enhancements – 4 percent.

“With today’s decisions, the Oregon Transportation Commission has directed investments that address some of the critical needs of our transportation system while also approving expenditures in areas focused on a more equitable, safe, resilient, and sustainable transportation system, “ Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Robert Van Brocklin said. “We are grateful to our federal delegation for securing this funding. This isn’t the end of the conversation by any means. We’ll need additional funding to truly build a network that delivers greater safety and resiliency, supports a strong economy, and protects our livability and natural environment. Our actions today are an important step toward reaching that goal.”

Today’s decision comes after months of public outreach and input. Legislators, mayors, city and county commissioners, and members of the public from across the state have testified before the commission, submitted written comments, and participated in online open houses sharing their perspectives and the extensive range of investments needs throughout Oregon.

Many of the comments focused on investing in public and active transportation, preserving road and bridge safety, improving congestion bottlenecks, addressing the needs of urban arterials, and ensuring a statewide distribution of funds.

During its meeting Wednesday, March 30, the OTC provided approval to invest the federal funds. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) staff are determining the details of how the money will be distributed. ODOT will provide further details on the process for making specific expenditures in the coming weeks and months.

About the OTC

The Oregon Transportation Commission establishes state transportation policy. The commission also guides the planning, development and management of a statewide integrated transportation network that provides efficient access, is safe, and enhances Oregon’s economy and livability.

The commission meets monthly to oversee department activities relating to

• Highways

• Public transportation

• Rail

• Transportation safety

•Motor carrier transportation

• Drivers and motor vehicles

The governor appoints five commissioners, ensuring that different geographic regions of the state are represented. One member must live east of the Cascade Range; no more than three members can belong to one political party.

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