To Compete, Oregon Needs Modern Transportation Options

Oregon competes on a global scale to attract a talented workforce and the companies that rely on it. Millennials and others now show greater preference for vibrant neighborhoods with options like walking, biking and transit, and companies are moving to these locations to access that talent. Meanwhile, Oregon transit districts can’t keep up with demand, jeopardizing our competitiveness and the ability of those who can’t afford or aren’t able to drive to get to work and meet other daily needs. In many communities, it is unsafe to bicycle or walk. Gas and diesel are making our air unhealthy to breathe and changing our climate. To meet Oregonians’ needs and compete in the 21st century, our state must move beyond the old highways-focused approach and invest in a modern transportation system with safe, affordable, healthy options for everyone.

How to Get There

Invest in Public Transit

  • Provide state transit operations funding to match and leverage local, regional and federal funds in rural, small urban and urban communities.
  • Increase Student Transportation Options to fund transit passes and improved transit service that expand youth access to schools, jobs and other opportunities.

Make Our Streets Safe for Everyone

  • Dramatically expand the Safe Routes to School program to reach more children and build safe places to walk and bike to school.
  • Many high-speed, high-crash corridors were built as state highways, but now function as city streets. Give these streets to cities and provide funding to upgrade them to safe, livable streets that support economic development.
  • Set a statutory goal of zero serious traffic injuries and fatalities, and establish a broad task force designed to help build consensus around shared safety goals.
  • Dedicate increased revenue to making biking and walking safe and meeting the goals of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

Environmental Stewardship

  • Ensure metropolitan areas plan land use and transportation in a way that reduces climate pollution.
  • Reduce unhealthy pollution from cars, buses and trucks by supporting cleaner vehicles.
  • Conserve and restore habitat connectivity and modify infrastructure to make roads safer and protect fish and wildlife.

Fix Roads and Bridges Before Building New Ones

  • Dedicate most of state road funding to maintenance, repair and seismic upgrades, and formulate a plan for long-term maintenance of state and local infrastructure.

Select Transportation Projects with the Best Return

  • Use rational, accountable and transparent criteria based on state goals to distribute state transportation funding.
  • Right-size transportation projects to get more bang for the taxpayer’s buck.

Oregon Environmental Council and our allies in Transportation for Oregon’s Future developed these recommendations. Steering committee members include 1000 Friends of Oregon, Better Eugene Springfield Transit, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon Walks, OLCV, The Street Trust (formerly Bicycle Transportation Alliance) and Transportation for America.

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