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Enhance Oregon's Transportation Infrastructure

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2013 Oregon Business Plan Transportation Initiative (PDF) 



Top 2013 Opportunities:

Build the Bridge
Connect Oregon



Why is this important?

Today, nearly 5,000 Oregon companies export their products and services abroad and one-quarter of Oregon’s manufacturing jobs are export-dependent. International trade has been the cornerstone of Oregon’s economy, and today products from all corners of the state are part of the global marketplace. 

Forest products from southern Oregon are sold in Australia; our grass seed and onions go to Chile and Vietnam; our apples, wheat, crab, and hazelnuts are all bought and sold in markets all over the world. Almost a billion dollars in Oregon products go to South Korea each year and over $3 billion dollars of exports to China. Companies like TriQuint and Intel are exporting microprocessors and other advanced technology to Malaysia and China, with Intel providing $17 billion in economic investment to Oregon.

The Portland/Vancouver area exports one fifth of its economic output, ranking second in the U.S. Oregon’s businesses export $17.7 billion in goods annually. Those dollars are re-circulated through local businesses and through tax revenues that support public services. Nearly one quarter (23.3 percent) of all manufacturing workers in Oregon depend on exports for their jobs.  In 2008, 700,000 Oregonians held export-dependent jobs and export-related activity generated $29 billion in personal income for Oregonians.

Since 2009, Oregon’s state-wide export value has grown 23 percent. And for every billion dollars in additional goods sold overseas, 5,400 new jobs are created here in Oregon.  One in five jobs is trade related and more than half a million Oregon jobs depend on transportation. The Brookings Institution estimates that doubling Oregon’s exports over the next five years would create 113,000 new Oregon jobs. 

Investments in transportation provide both short- and long-term benefits to the economy. 

Goal of this initiative

Increase local and state economic competitiveness in global markets through strategic and focused transportation infrastructure investments that facilitate the free flow of people, goods, and services.

Long-term strategy

Create, maintain, and invest in a transportation system that maximizes economic development investments and supports the movement of people and goods. Specifically, the system should be:

Nimble

      Be able to accommodate the growth of economic and social opportunity wherever it occurs in the state.

Efficient

      Utilize new technologies to improve efficiency and mobility.

      Maximize existing capacity.

Multi-Modal

      Provide Oregonians, businesses, and visitors with access to what they need and enjoy by providing real transportation choices and integration between air, rail, motor vehicle, bicycle and public transportation.

Sustainable

      Utilize innovative, adequate and reliable sources of funding for the whole transportation system.

      Maintain and preserve the assets we have.

      Reduce the environmental footprint of the transportation system as a share of the economy

Priority actions for 2013

1.  The 2013 Oregon legislature should commit to funding Oregon’s share of the Columbia River Crossing project to secure the federal government’s investments in the project in anticipation of a 2013-2014 construction start date.

2.  Connect Oregon IV projects are selected and construction should be under way in late 2012 and early 2013 bringing statewide investments in air, rail, transit and marine infrastructure to $340 million from the Connect Oregon program.  The 2013 Legislature should pass Connect Oregon V, funded with at least an additional $60 million investment in lottery-backed bonds. 

3.  In the 2013 Legislative Session, stakeholders and Oregon’s elected leadership should engage in a strategic discussion regarding a potential investment mechanism for the long-term financing of non-roadway and multi-modal transportation infrastructure (air, rail, marine, transit, bike, and pedestrian). 

4.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) should implement the Oregon Freight Plan in consultation with the Oregon Freight Advisory Committee and other key stakeholders. The plan was adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission in June 2011. Among its key action items:

  • Toidentify and communicate the location of bottlenecks to infrastructure owners and stewards.
  • Aquire freight system stakeholder input on the bottlenecks in the freight system.
  • Develop performance measures to help make choices about where to invest.
  • Continue discussions with stakeholders and the public to identify funding sources for Oregon's transportation system.

5.  During 2013, the Road User Fee Task Force should continue pilot projects and approaches to collecting a mileage fee. This work is critical to move Oregon away from dependence on fuel taxes.

6.  2009 Jobs and Transportation Act projects should be delivered on time and on budget. A list of those projects, timelines, and budgets can be found at the ODOT website. 

Indicators of success

  • Increased value of commerce moving through all modes (e.g., roads, marine, rail, air.)
  • Increased trade per capita
  • Increased number of trade and transportation related jobs
  • Decreasing hours of congestion and improved safety
  • Reduced emissions and increased multi-modal investments

Long-Term Strategy

Create, maintain, and invest in a transportation system that maximizes economic development investments and supports the movement of people and goods. Specifically, the system should be:

Nimble

•      Be able to accommodate the growth of economic and social opportunity wherever it occurs in the state.

Efficient

•      Utilize new technologies to improve efficiency and mobility.

•      Maximize existing capacity.

Multi-Modal

•      Provide Oregonians, businesses, and visitors with access to what they need and enjoy by providing real transportation choices and integration between air, rail, motor vehicle, bicycle and public transportation.

Sustainable

•      Utilize innovative, adequate and reliable sources of funding for the whole transportation system.

•      Maintain and preserve the assets we have.

•      Reduce the environmental footprint of the transportation system as a share of the economy

Why is this Important?

Today, nearly 5,000 Oregon companies export their products and services abroad and one-quarter of Oregon’s manufacturing jobs are export-dependent. International trade has been the cornerstone of Oregon’s economy, and today products from all corners of the state are part of the global marketplace. 

Forest products from southern Oregon are sold in Australia; our grass seed and onions go to Chile and Vietnam; our apples, wheat, crab, and hazelnuts are all bought and sold in markets all over the world. Almost a billion dollars in Oregon products go to South Korea each year and over $3 billion dollars of exports to China. Companies like TriQuint and Intel are exporting microprocessors and other advanced technology to Malaysia and China, with Intel providing $17 billion in economic investment to Oregon.

The Portland/Vancouver area exports one fifth of its economic output, ranking second in the U.S. Oregon’s businesses export $17.7 billion in goods annually. Those dollars are re-circulated through local businesses and through tax revenues that support public services. Nearly one quarter (23.3 percent) of all manufacturing workers in Oregon depend on exports for their jobs.  In 2008, 700,000 Oregonians held export-dependent jobs and export-related activity generated $29 billion in personal income for Oregonians.

Since 2009, Oregon’s state-wide export value has grown 23 percent. And for every billion dollars in additional goods sold overseas, 5,400 new jobs are created here in Oregon.  One in five jobs is trade related and more than half a million Oregon jobs depend on transportation. The Brookings Institution estimates that doubling Oregon’s exports over the next five years would create 113,000 new Oregon jobs. 

Investments in transportation provide both short- and long-term benefits to the economy. 

Progress Since the Oregon Business Plan Launched in 2002

Improved International Air Service. Thanks to the business community’s support of Portland International Airport, Delta Air Lines provides nonstop service to both Amsterdam and Tokyo; Air Canada flies nonstop to Calgary and Toronto; Air Canada and Horizon Air provide nonstop service to Vancouver, and Asiana Cargo offers nonstop freighter service to Incheon, Korea and beyond.

Increased State Highway Funding. The 2003 Legislature passed the Oregon Transportation Investment Act 3 - a $2.5 billion package for repair or replacement of city, county and state roads and bridges on Oregon’s key freight transportation corridors. It also funded strategic freight capacity on the state’s road system and increased funding for local government road and street maintenance and operation.  In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed HB 2001 the Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA), which uses an increase in car and truck taxes and fees to bond for nearly $1 billion in transportation-related improvements.  The JTA included 37 projects that the Oregon Department of Transportation must advance. 

Increased Federal Highway Funding.  Congress passed the surface transportation program re-authorization act, known as SAFETEA-LU, in 2005.  SAFETEA-LU increased the amount of federal highway funding Oregon will receive through 2009 by more than half a billion dollars.  Oregon has left behind its status as a net donor to the federal Highway Trust Fund and will receive more than it pays in.

Federal Funding for Critical Projects:  In 2005, Congress appropriated more than $100million for Oregon highway projects, including six of the eight projects of statewide significance identified in the Statewide Transportation Investment Plan and eight of nine projects identified by the Oregon Transportation Commission.

Revamped ODOT. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) hired Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners to manage the development and delivery of $1.3 billion in state bridges on the interstates and other major freight routes. This allowed ODOT to deliver the bridge and highway improvements without additional staff, changing its business model from in-house project delivery to strategic management of Oregon’s transportation system.

Columbia Channel Deepening. Deepening of the Columbia River navigation channel to 43 feet will allow farmers and businesses in the Pacific Northwest to compete in overseas markets.  Congress appropriated $9 million in the Fiscal Year 2005 budget for the first year of actual dredging and associated ecosystem restoration.  In Fiscal Year 2006, Congress appropriated an additional $15 million.  By the end of calendar year 2005, about 25 per cent of the navigation channel will be deepened to 43 feet.

Engage in Public-Private Partnerships. In 2003, the state adopted legislation to establish a new tool—an innovative partnership program within ODOT. Experiments in public-private partnerships to build or enhance transportation systems are being developed worldwide. Administrative rules have been adopted and ODOT is negotiating with a major firm selected in its first “Request for Interest.”

Moving Beyond the Gas Tax. The Road User Fee Task Force, created by the 2001 Legislature to examine alternatives to fuel taxes, completed its initial Road User Fee Pilot program in 2007, demonstrating how mileage-based fees might work in practice. Other states have shown interest in Oregon’s efforts to move the program from the theoretical to the practical.  Building off what they learned (including pitfalls) with the original pilot, in 2012 the Road User Fee Task Force took his effort to the next level by launching a Road User Charge pilot program.  Oregon was the first state to adopt a gas tax.  It should be the first state to move beyond it.   

Multi-Modal Investments.  In 2005, the Legislature established  “Connect Oregon” which designated $100 million to fund critical non-road multi-modal transportation initiatives that will improve the flow of commerce and remove delays.  Investments will focus on rail, transit, aviation and marine projects.  The legislature passed "Connect Oregon II" in 2007 and  "Connect Oregon III" in 2009.  In 2011, HB 5036 auhorized $40 million for multi-modal transportation projects under "Connect Oregon IV."  In 2011, Governor Kitzhaber's Transportation Policy Advisory Lynn Peterson convened a stakeholder group to develop a permanent investment plan and funding mechanism for multi-modal tranportation investments.  The results of their work will be discussed in 2012 for possible action by the 2013 legislature.  

  

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