Thursday, December 3, 2020

ODOT Priorities for the 2024-2027 Funding Cycle Deserve More Attention

ODOT has been considering ways to slice up the funding pie for the the forthcoming 2024-2027 State funding cycle. It has seemed like small changes on the edges and not yet any fundamental reconsideration of how ODOT operates in our climate emergency. 

Instead, we've focused here on the MPO and its processes for project vetting and project selection within the constraints ODOT first sets.

The differences have seemed minor

But maybe that is not right this time, and the process may be worth more attention. Ignoring it as less than perfect or excellent might be neglecting the ways it could be an actual improvement.

BikePortland has been following the process. They note that the current approach badly fails to meet climate goals.

On climate and non-auto travel
ODOT gives itself D grades
via Twitter

Several advocacy groups have suggested that out of four possible scenarios for slicing up the funding, the "non-highway" option is clearly superior and deserves support. See BikePortland for a longer discussion. Eugene Weekly also advocates for the "non-highway" option, a little more poetically, in "The Road Less Traveled: Time for climate leadership on Oregon’s roads." 

ODOT has apparently tried to muddy things with a couple of new hybrid options, and it might be worth stressing the original "non-highway" proposal.

Consider telling the OTC you want the "non-highway" option for the 2024 STIP.

At BikePortland see:

At the OTC, from November meeting materials:

Update, December 16th

Last night the OTC met and made a decision. In "Commission approves STIP allocation with record ‘non-highway’ funding" BikePortland recaps:

In the end, the five-member OTC directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to set the “non-highway” funding category at its highest level ever — $255 million. That’s a 20% decrease from the $321 million non-highway proposal activists had rallied around for the past few weeks, but over 60% higher from the current STIP non-highway funding level of $158 million.

Look at these magnificent table scraps!
You are so lucky! Don't be ungrateful.
(It will still take over 50 years to build out the system)

The group critical of the I-5 Rose Quarter project, No More Freeways, live-tweeted the meeting, and that thread is more consistently critical of ODOT and the OTC.

The bottom line is that neither ODOT nor the OTC are taking climate seriously enough. They remain very autoist.


Anonymous said...

The Portland group, Bike Loud PDX claims the new scenarios are more than a little shady, specifically for big highway projects:

"To our complete surprise, the OTC has decided to throw out those scenarios. Instead, the OTC has now created three new scenarios to consider. These scenarios propose cutting the multi-modal projects budget by as much as $100M! And guess where those dollars are going? You guessed it: expanding the I-5 Rose Quarter and the Columbia River Crossing."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks. Added also a new piece at BP on the Bike Loud analysis and campaign.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added more on the OTC meeting and decision last night.