Achterman Headlines AORTA Luncheon

Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Achterman to Address
Rail and Transit Advocates on December 6th

Gail Achterman, Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, will speak at the Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates (AORTA) Annual Meeting on December 6th at the Governor Hotel in Portland. Ms. Achterman will share her commission’s vision for Oregon’s short-term and long-term transportation future, especially improved roles for rail and public transportation in fighting climate change, achieving energy independence and improving Oregon’s economy. “AORTA’s mission is to improve rail and public transportation options for all Oregonians. Ms. Achterman’s talk and the question and answer period that follows should help improve dialog between rail and transit proponents and transportation decision-makers,” said AORTA President Donald Leap.

“Sustainable transportation advocates in Oregon, like AORTA, have some reason for cautious optimism,” continued Leap. “The Governor’s transportation budget, recently released as the Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009, has additional funding for passenger and freight rail transportation over past budgets. We hope this indicates the beginning of a change in direction for Oregon, where, except for light rail, ‘transportation’ has primarily meant roads. We also are encouraged by promising interest in more investment in rail and public transportation at the federal level.”

Ms. Achterman has a strong environmental record, having, among other activities, served as Governor Goldschmidt’s Assistant for Natural Resources and is currently the Director of OSU’s Institute for Natural Resources. “Having taken over the Commission Chair position, we believe Gail can help infuse an ethos of sustainability at an agency that has often pursued unsustainable highway projects as solutions to transportation problems,” said Fred Nussbaum, AORTA’s Strategic Planner. “Under the Governor’s plan, ODOT must use a ‘least cost’ planning model that will require it to determine if non-highway solutions can solve a problem at less cost. This will require a major culture shift and we look forward to a discussion with Gail on how we can help facilitate that.”

“The public is warmly encouraged to attend what will certainly be an informative presentation and lively discussion,” said Vice President Jim Long, meeting organizer.

The meeting is from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Reservations are required. Lunch menu choices are chicken, meatloaf or vegetable ravioli.

Please contact Fred Nussbaum at 503-292-5549 or for further information and to register.

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