Transportation package essential to Oregon’s future

Sid Leiken_thb

by Sid Leiken

As co-chair of the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) Transportation Committee and member of the National Association of Counties Transportation Committee, I, along with my colleagues – comprising of Oregon’s County Commissioners and County Judges – submitted a letter yesterday to the leadership of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Our mission with the letter was to address the need for stronger local control of the Senate’s Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act and its impact on the Surface Transportation Program (STP).

Although the DRIVE act has many benefits and overall increased funding, such as long-term certainty, increased funding for bridges off the National Highway System, safety improvements on high risk rural roads, and discretionary funding for busses and their facilities, it does not allow for more flexible funding for the STP.

This means DRIVE currently reduces the amount of STP funding that is sub-allocated to local jurisdictions. In addition, the DRIVE Act does not restore the 30 percent funding cut for locally owned infrastructure that occurred under the last transportation package.

With the increased volume of freight traffic on Oregon’s roads due to the pulling out of major shipping services at the Port of Portland, it further raises the importance of meeting the demands of our straining roads and bridges.

Sid Leiken is a Republican candidate for Oregon Secretary of State