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
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.
At BikePortland see:
- "Climate commitment looms over Oregon Transportation Commission’s $2.24 billion funding decision" (The debated portion is much less than $100 million, however, just a few percent of the total)
- "ODOT’s recommended STIP funding scenarios seek ‘Non-Highway’ compromise"
- "$2.2 billion funding vote delayed as ODOT pushes new funding plans at final hour"
- "Opinion: ‘Non-Highway’ spending category needs a new name"
- NEW: On Monday the 7th, "Bike Loud says ‘Stop the STIP’ as state moves toward Friday vote." BikePortland says the non-highway allocation was originally $320M (over four years and statewide), and the baseline $148M; the new proposals are for $245M or $225M. In round terms that's a high of 15% and a low of 7% of the total package of $2.1B.
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.