Is there a Silver Lining in the Transportation Bill?

The Oregon Environmental Council, which opposed the transportation bill along with other environment organizations, nonetheless has published a plus/minus analysis on the bill and finds about a half dozen positives:

  • ODOT is required to develop a “least-cost planning” model, in consultation with local governments and metropolitan planning organizations, as a decision-making tool in the development of plans and projects at both the state and regional level.
  • The Oregon Transportation Commission is required to review and update the selection criteria for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and to include such criteria as (1) Fosters livable communities by demonstrating that the investment reinforces or does not undermine compact urban development; (2) Enhances the value of transportation projects through designs and development that reflect environmental stewardship and community sensitivity; and (3) Is consistent with infrastructure plans and reinforces the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
  • ODOT is required to prepare an “efficient fee study” that must consider actual costs users impose on the highway system, including the cost of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The tax credit for pay-as-you-drive auto insurance has been extended.
  • A congestion pricing pilot program in the Portland metro area must be undertaken within 36 months.
  • ODOT is required to adopt rules to incorporate environmental performance standards into design and construction of all state highway construction projects, including local projects funded by the department.
  • Medium-speed electric vehicles may operate on roads posted up to 45 mph, and the state is required to work with private firms to install electric motor vehicle recharging stations at roadside rest areas.

I’d love to see the least-cost requirement applied to the CRC ASAP.

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