The Policy Committee for our Metropolitan Planning Organization meets on Tuesday the 26th, and they look to endorse adding $14 million to the I-5 widening at a short section south of Kuebler Boulevard to Delaney Road.
|Buried in a bundle of amendments|
You may recall previous rounds on the project. Because of various ways the project has been defined, it has been hard to get a bead on it. In conceptual planning it was a $48 million project.
The first budget had it at $18 million, considerably smaller.
Then it increased to $35 million.
And now $50 million.
- "I-5 Widening, Freight, Questionable Priorities: At the MPO Tuesday" (2016)
- "I-5 Kuebler to Delany Road Project Doubles to $35 Million, on OTC Agenda" (2018)
- "Ignoring Climate: Highway Expansion at the MPO" (2021)
Sometimes ODOT plays with a slippery scope in order to show a smaller
cost estimate at first and then gradual increases that seem easier to
swallow. Other times ODOT just plain underestimates. And now we are
objectively in an environment of escalating costs. So some combination
of all three of these may be in play.
|From ODOT approval forms|
As leverage, ODOT threatens "there will be a bottle neck on I-5" if the project is not funded, but gives no attention to induced travel and increased emissions.
|Back in 2015|
Just as for an order of magnitude comparison, you may recall back in 2015 when Amtrak Cascades needed $10.4 million and the two-year budget for the Oregon portion was $28.1 million. So ODOT proposes to spend about twice that on a very short segment of I-5.
|Washington Post, front page today|
|USA Today SJ supplement today|
On a separate agenda item, the MPO will consider adding "a qualitative criterion for greenhouse gas emission reductions" for project scoring and evaluation in the 20 year MTP process and plan.
|Adding a point for emissions|
While it is new and helpful, it would also be small, especially as it is
only a binary, +1 or zero, at most 10% in the total score and generally rounding to zero, and also
not a triad with the possibility of a -1. We need to start penalizing
bad projects, not just regarding them as neutral!
|All ten proposed criteria (yellow in original)|
The Policy Committee meets on Tuesday the 26th at noon. The agenda and meeting packet can be downloaded here.
BREAKING! In a live-tweet thread just now, Sightline Housing Advocate Michael Andersen says of the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rulemaking:
"Oregon Land Use and Development Commission unanimously agrees on implementation "Option A," the more rapid of two options.
First phase of parking reforms - ending mandates near transit, for small homes, & for affordable homes - set to take effect on Jan. 1 2023.
Commissioner Barbara Boyer, who farms outside Yamhill, OR: 'Science is dictating that we should be acting now.'
Minutes later, Oregon LCDC votes unanimously to pass this historic package.
State planner Kevin Young: 'This is where the real work really begins. We're not going to be successful if local governments aren’t.'"
We'll be reading more about this I am sure from Sightline, newspapers generally, and a staff report at the MPO, perhaps even as an insert on this agenda. (See previously here and here from May.)
I’m glad that DLCD passed these rules. But it’s clear that Oregon, including the politicians who talk about combatting climate change, doesn’t really want to reduce single passenger vehicle travel. The fact that we still do not have robust commuter rail in the Willamette Valley, along with a few other parts of the state, but we keep pushing to widen I-5 proves that they’re not serious.
Here’s a piece from the Onion that I saw after I posted my comment. It proves my point.
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