Archive | RTP Update

RTP End Game

The final public comment period for the Regional Transportation Plan commences today. Speak now or hold your peace:

45-day public comment period on the Regional Transportation Plan opens March 22

On Monday, Metro opens a public comment period on both the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and the plan’s Air Quality Conformity Determination. The RTP is a long-term blueprint that guides transportation planning and investments throughout the region, and is updated every four years.

The current RTP proposal, accepted by the Metro Council and the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) in December, calls for more than $20 billion in transportation enhancements during the next 25 years. The projects will improve safety and travel choices, revitalize downtowns and main streets, create jobs and enhance our economy while maintaining clean air and reducing our region’s carbon footprint.

Get the full details on the plan and how to comment here.

Climate Change Battle of the PACs at Metro

Read this very carefully.

On Thursday, JPACT will consider conflicting Climate Change amendments to the Regional Transportation Plan from MPAC and TPAC.

The attached memo (PDF, 143K) makes this even more confusing, but fundamentally the folks on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee, which is focused on land use and community building have proposed a more aggressive stance toward labeling some projects as having worse impacts on greenhouse gases. The Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee adopted a watered-down version of the same.

In both cases the City of Portland proposed the amendments.

The Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation will sort this out Thursday at 7:15AM and send the whole bowl of alphabet soup to the Metro Council.

Bottom line: even though the RTP has some tough policy language about Climate Change, we won’t really be looking at significantly changing the project list until 2014.

Meanwhile the challenge will be to make sure none of the really ugly projects move into construction before then…

Tweaking the RTP for Climate Change

Metro is reporting that TPAC (Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee – the technocrats) had a discussion about the impacts of climate change policy on the Regional Transportation Plan, but the momentum still appears to be for the status quo on the project list:

Other TPAC members, while acknowledging the importance and urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources, opposed the additional modeling requirement on the grounds that the RTP is scheduled for adoption by ordinance in June 2010, which does not allow sufficient time to design a good model, let alone run it.

TPAC did adopt one amendment along the lines of (this is NOT the final language):

“Accepts the RTP project lists solely for the purposes of obtaining public comment and determining conformance with the Clean Air Act.”

But I’m not clear on the impact of this.

Mayor Adams was successful in getting MPAC (Metro Policy Advisory Committee) to adopt stronger amendments. Expect all of this to come to a head at JPACT (Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation) [on December 10th, I think] before ultimately going to the Metro Council.

Time to Reboot the RTP?

Do we need to try again on Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan?

Last week we discussed the lukewarm response from progressive transportation advocates, now we have more specifics:

  • Mayor Adams has tweeted that the plan fails to meet the goals of the Portland/Multnomah County Climate Action Plan.
  • Members of the Sustainability Commission have expressed concern that the plan not only fails to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, but in fact increases emissions over the no-build scenario.
  • Coalition for a LIvable Future has released a detailed critique (PDF, 324K).

CLF’s overall criticisms include:

  • Too much emphasis on road expansion (even without the Columbia River Crossing)
  • Increases in greenhouse gases
  • Lack of equity

and some specific items:

  • Washington County is trying to build its way out of congestion
  • Portland’s Streetcar expansion needs to happen at the edges as well as the center of the City
  • TriMet is failing to provide sufficient operating funding for buses

Local leaders should insist that our transportation investments decrease greenhouse gases rather than increase them!

Heads Up – RTP Comment Period Scheduled

Metro has indicated that the 30-day comment period on the Regional Transportation Plan update will begin on October 15. They have also announced the dates of a series of hearings:

Regional Transportation Plan seeks public review
Metro is preparing to release a draft of the updated federal component of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for a 30-day public review and comment period. The comment period will begin on October 15, and end on November 15, 2007.

The RTP is the long-range blueprint to guide major transportation investments in the Portland metropolitan region. The federal component of the RTP was prepared in response to changes to federal law and regulations contained in Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

During the 30-day comment period, residents and businesses are encouraged to study the draft document and other information from the 2035 RTP project web page (, and provide feedback on the recommended direction of the RTP as reflected in the policy framework and goals, major transportation investments, and proposed strategies.

Comments may be submitted via a comment form on the project web page, by email to, or by US mail to RTP Comments, Metro Planning Department, 600 NE Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97232. Hard copies of the draft plan will also be available from the Planning Department upon request

Four public open houses and hearings are scheduled to provide information, answer questions and offer an opportunity to submit testimony in person.

Oct 25
Clackamas County Chamber
Public Service Building
2051 Kaen Road
Oregon City 97045
Open house starts at 4; hearing starts at 5 pm

Nov 1
Metro Regional Center
600 NE Grand Avenue
Portland 97232
Open house starts at 1; hearing starts at 2 pm

Nov 8
Hillsboro Civic Center Auditorium
150 E. Main Street
Hillsboro 97123
Open house starts at 4; hearing starts at 5 pm

Nov 15
Metro Central Open house
600 NE Grand Avenue
Portland 97232
Open house starts at 1; hearing starts at 2 pm

The public comments will be compiled into a report and considered by the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) and the Metro Council before taking action on the updated federal component on December 13, 2007.

With approval of the updated federal component, Metro will begin work on the state component of the RTP to address state and regional goals. The state component will be integrated with the federal component to create a final 2035 RTP later in 2008. A second public comment period will precede consideration of the final RTP.

For technical questions about the transportation priorities process, programs or projects, call Kim Ellis, RTP project manager, 503-797-1617. For questions about public involvement, call Pat Emmerson, 503-797-1551.