Thursday, March 19, 2009

Latest Round of Stimulus Funds

Yesterday the Oregon Transportation Commission met and designated projects for the latest round of stimulus funds. There are no bike/ped projects in the Salem area, unfortunately, but about 7% of the $101 million did got to bike/ped projects statewide.

In an Oregonian article, Dylan Rivera quotes Doug Tindall, an ODOT deputy director:
ODOT officials said they achieved a better balance between mass transit and highway spending than perhaps any other state in the nation. Railroad officials have told ODOT that they haven't heard of any other state offering stimulus transportation money for rail and other non-highway projects.

"To my knowledge, we're the only state in the nation that has opened up this sort of opportunity," said Doug Tindall.

Bikeportland shows a terrific pie chart of the distribution by project type.

Here's a pdf of the spreadsheet with each project, project type, geographic distribution, and dollar amount.

There were many more proposed projects than funds to complete them. One report suggested a 5:1 ratio of proposed to funded projects. So for bike/ped, transit, and rail together to get about 28% of the funds looks on the surface like substantive progress.

[update follows]

In a sidebar to the Statesman article, the paper notes
Now it's Salem-Keizer's turn to decide how the region will spend its own $6 million from the federal economic-recovery plan for road and transit projects.

The decision is scheduled by the policy committee of the Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization at noon Tuesday at 109 High St. SE, Salem. Salem City Councilor Dan Clem leads the committee.

Among the 17 projects proposed are a bicycle and pedestrian path by Wallace Marine Park in West Salem and a signal replacement and sidewalk engineering for Chicago Street in Turner.
The article also quotes Bob Stacy on the rail-transit-bike/ped proportions:
Bob Stacey, the executive director of the land-use watchdog group 1000 Friends of Oregon, said the slowdown allowed for some alternatives to highway projects to move forward — but not enough to suit him.

Of 93 bicycle/pedestrian and transit projects submitted at a total of $60 million, 27 were approved at a total of $14.6 million.

"We're not going to have this infusion of flexible federal funds of this magnitude — twice the size of an ordinary appropriation — for a long time to come," Stacey said. "It was a chance missed to provide more balance to Oregon's transportation system."

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