From Associated Oregon Industries Leading Issues June 16, 2010

One of the better successful bills this session is the unheralded SB 264A – highway access permitting streamlining.

SB 264A addresses a big problem – the frustration encountered by businesses, such as a grocery store or bank, when they want to build or expand and need a highway access permit from ODOT. In some cases, the mere trepidation of venturing into this permitting thicket has, reportedly, caused some projects to be delayed or dismissed out of hand. Horror stories abound. Needless to say, this has had an impact on job creation and business expansion.

SB 264A is a big step forward. The measure, which passed both houses easily and has been signed by the Governor, will result in set standards for obtaining such a permit. It is estimated that about 80% of the access permits will fall into a clear, predicable, and relatively rapid regulatory scheme, with the remaining 20%, those that are more complex or involve thornier issues, going to what is intended to be an objective and collaborative resolution process. The bill also establishes a workgroup to work on improvements to access management issues and monitor the results of the bill.

Much of the credit for the bill goes to Senators Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), Joanne Verger (D-Coos Bay), Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls), Representatives Terry Beyer (D-Springfield) and Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard), along with ODOT which not only recognized a problem, but helped fix it.