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ConnectOregon

GRANTS BENEFIT SOUTHERN OREGON By David Lohman, OTC Commissioner

A few weeks ago, ODOT announced the award of 41 ConnectOregon III grants across the state. From among the 97 initial applications, Jackson and Josephine County received three grants totaling $4.8 million. (Note: these figures do not take into account a special set-aside for competitive ConnectOregon III grants to small airports.) These grants benefit Southwest Oregon in strikingly diverse ways. One of these grants will enable Mercy Flights, which serves a 150-mile radius area from Medford, to build a new operations center and hangars for its air and ground ambulance services. The second grant will enable the Rogue Valley Transportation District to build high-capacity infrastructure for compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling of its fleet of buses and the fleets of other private and public entities in the region, as well as individual citizens’ future CNG vehicles. The third grant will help preserve freeway capacity and reduce freeway maintenance costs by facilitating the transfer of some freight shipments from truck to rail. The ConnectOregon program was proposed by the Governor and approved

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November 12, 2010

odotmovingahead.com

by the legislature to address some critical problems in Oregon’s transportation system. First, we don’t have a transportation system. We have a hodgepodge of transportation facilities and equipment. Some are privately owned and operated; some are publicly owned (by over 300 separate Oregon jurisdictions) and used by both private and public sector transportation service providers. Second, we don’t have a coherent way of prioritizing transportation projects or services. In large part, this is because there are so many different jurisdictions and transportation service providers (both public and private), each legitimately concerned about its own responsibilities and budget. Third, we don’t have funding sources flexible enough to allow us to select the most effective ways of addressing the transportation problems we encounter. The gas tax, for example, cannot be used to fund a freight rail project even if it would help conserve highway capacity and postpone future roadway improvement costs. The ConnectOregon program was launched as a way of addressing these systemic problems. ConnectOregon

ODOT Moving Ahead - November 2010  

Moving Ahead is a publication of the Mail Tribune Advertising Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

ODOT Moving Ahead - November 2010  

Moving Ahead is a publication of the Mail Tribune Advertising Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.