Good News for Oregonians!
Oregon is poised to improve all aspects of transportation with funds coming our way from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021
Transportation touches all of us in Oregon in one way or another – and most of us in many ways! It’s not surprising then that improving our transportation system is something Oregonians value: from roadways and bridges to sidewalks and bike lanes, from public transportation to railroads and more. At the Oregon Department of Transportation, we know this because Oregonians tell us every time the agency’s annual “Transportation Needs and Issues” survey results come back.
And that’s one big reason for excitement around the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021: over $1 billion in additional funding is headed our way to improve the state’s transportation system.
What will we get with this investment?
These federal funds will help us address many of our most pressing transportation challenges in Oregon. There is new money for electric vehicle charging, active transportation, transit operations and basic maintenance and preservation of our transportation system. The package also symbolizes federal prioritization on climate change – more than we’ve seen historically from federal infrastructure bills.
Because of the changes ODOT has made over the last few years, highlighted in our 2021-2023 Strategic Action Plan, we are in an excellent position to receive additional funding from new, competitive grants to modernize our transportation system.
Key details of Oregon’s funds
With many of our projects almost ready to go to construction, and others completing the required planning stages, we can move quickly.
- Funds: About $1 billion in additional funding for roads – a 38 percent increase over the normal amount we receive from federal funds.
- Transit: $200 million funding for transit programs – a 35 percent increase over the normal amount we receive from federal funds.
- Bridges: $250 million to invest in repairing and replacing of aging bridges.
- EV charging: $50 million to ODOT for new electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Resilience: $94 million to increase the transportation system’s resilience to seismic events and natural disasters, and for efforts to adapt to climate change.
- Carbon reduction: $82 million to invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Safety: $40 million in additional funding to invest in improving transportation safety for all users across state and local roads.
- Active transportation: $30 million in additional funding for bike and pedestrian projects.
- Local priorities: Over $200 million for cities, counties and metropolitan planning organizations to invest in community priorities.
- Local transit: Increase in formula funding and competitive grants for transit districts to upgrade fleets and to invest more into low- and zero-emissions vehicles.
- Passenger rail: Nationally, billions of dollars in competitive passenger rail grant funding will be available that could help make improvements to the state-supported Amtrak Cascades service. The IIJA makes the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak in the 1970s.
In addition, the IIJA provides the U.S. Department of Transportation with over $100 billion in new funding to distribute through competitive grant programs. The act created several new programs, including a $12.5 billion competitive program for replacing bridges that could be an option for funding the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, as well as $1 billion for a Reconnecting Communities grant program that lines up well with the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.
We have a number of projects that are “ready to go” and just waiting on funding. We will begin work on those as well as the long list of road and bridge maintenance work that can now be addressed. For some of the new funding programs—like EV charging stations—we’ll add new projects based on planning work we’ve already done. Now that President Biden has signed the bill, Federal Highway and Federal Transit agencies will make final calculations and release funds, most likely by early December. Watch for more information from ODOT and our partners. Sign up to receive email updates on transportation-related topics of interest to you.