$1.2 billion investment means more transportation options for Oregonians

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Among other benefits, infrastructure bill will help lower greenhouse gas emissions

LTD electric bus

December 9, 2021

For more information, contact Shelley M. Snow, Communications, 503-881-5362

This release is the second in a series that will provide more information on how ODOT plans to spend funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

SALEM – Zero-emissions buses? On the way. Better transit connections? Sure! More off-highway bike and walking paths? Yes. Updated transit facilities? You bet. These are some of the things Oregonians will see with the funds dedicated to public transportation and bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the recently passed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

On Tuesday, ODOT offered a webinar about several aspects of the act, which is sending $1.2 billion in additional transportation funding to the state. That amount includes $200 million to invest in public transportation and $30 million for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Most of these funds will divided up and added to Public Transportation’s existing programs: programs that are already delivering what Oregonians want to see for these modes of transportation.

“We’ll be able to help organizations do more of the good things they are already doing,” said Policy and Implementation Manager Marsha Hoskins. “For example, there’s an emphasis on low- and no-emissions vehicles, and these funds will help transit districts move in that direction.”

Lane Transit District recently received a grant from ODOT that it used to purchase 19 electric buses. When those arrive, beginning next year, it will bring to 30 the number of electric buses the district is able to run in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area.

“In our Climate Action Plan, we have a goal of 25 electric buses by 2023. This purchase allows us to not only meet but surpass this goal,” said Kelly Hoell, LTD’s sustainability program manager. “It also moves us closer to our goal of 0% fossil fuels in our fleet by 2035.”

Walking and rolling, too

The funds coming to Oregon include investments in the state’s Oregon Community Paths Program, dedicated to paths and trails off the highway system. Program Manager Alan Thompson said communities across the state will benefit.

“This increase will help in both the number and type of projects,” Thompson said “For example, some projects not funded last cycle because of insufficient funds included several pedestrian bridges and a new path connecting a medical center to a larger path.”

Those are the types of projects that might receive awards in the future with this influx of federal funds.

Funds from the act will also go toward things like repairing sidewalks, adding bike lanes, improving intersection safety, building pedestrian refuge islands and more. Increasing active transportation options like these are part of ODOT's 2021-2023 Strategic Action Plan.

In southern Oregon, the devastating 2020 Almeda fire destroyed transit stops and sidewalks. The Rogue Valley Transit District recently received $1 million from ODOT to rebuild and enhance the pedestrian infrastructure in the area. This kind of existing ODOT program will receive more funds with the federal package.

What’s next?

The final decision on how the funds will be spent rests with the Oregon Transportation Commission. The commission is inviting public comment on how funds should be directed. You can provide input to the commission here or at upcoming OTC meetings.

You can also help shape the future of Oregon’s transportation system by taking part in an online open house (through 12/22/2021) on the Oregon Transportation Plan, which will determine transportation decisions and investments over the next several decades.

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ODOT has released an infographic and recorded a webinar that describes what Oregon expects to receive from the federal funding package in more detail. Those materials can be found here: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Pages/IIJA.aspx