Oregon Department of Transportation Commits to Bike and Pedestrian Programs

We are pleased to share the following statement from Matthew Garrett, Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The recent federal legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21, changed several transportation programs and their funding mechanisms. These are programs that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has traditionally managed with our partners over the years. As we move forward to build the next Statewide Transportation Improvement Program or STIP, we want to clarify our commitments to funding for the following programs:

  • MAP-21 cut dedicated funding levels for active transportation programs by nearly 40 percent. Regardless, ODOT is committed to funding active transportation programs.
  • We will honor all of our existing funding commitments to bicycle and pedestrian programs in the 2012-2015 STIP, which will provide about $4 million per year more of federal flexible funds than what MAP-21 provides to Oregon for bicycle and pedestrian projects through the new Transportation Alternatives Program.
  • MAP-21 abolishes the Safe Routes to School program. ODOT will keep it intact through 2015 and fund the education and outreach of the program going forward.
  • MAP-21 allows states to “opt out” of the Recreational Trails Program. Oregon will not opt out for the next three or four years. The Oregon State Parks Department will continue to administer the Recreational Trails Program until at least 2016.
  • Starting in 2016, all active transportation related programs that are infrastructure-related (including projects previously eligible for Safe Routes to School infrastructure programs) will be considered part of the Enhance Program in the 2016-19 STIP and projects will be chosen by the Area Commissions on Transportation.

For additional information about MAP-21, please visit our MAP-21 Web page, http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/GOVREL/Pages/MAP-21.aspx

Sincerely,

Matthew L. Garrett

Director

As we at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) reflect on what this means, obviously we are thrilled to have such supportive leadership at the state level. During the conversation on this subject over the past few months, we asked for more and will continue to set the bar higher. Today’s commitments are a welcome announcement, but some of our original concerns remain.

Though ODOT is willing to maintain existing programs and there is an opportunity to compete and win increased funding for bike projects in future years, today’s statement offers no assurance that we will see increased investment in multimodal transportation choices like biking, walking, and transit.

In Oregon, we are much better off than other states, some of which have chosen to opt out of programs like Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. For that, we are grateful. In the future, we must remain vigilant. The BTA will continue to advocate as decisions are made and we will need your help. Join us to help make Oregon a safer place to ride.

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