Senate GOP Leader calls for immediate resignation of ODOT Director

Sen. Ted Ferrioli

Senator Ted Ferrioli

Documents Show ODOT Director Matt Garrett Failed to Notify Lawmakers of Key Details Involving Transportation Negotiations

Salem, Ore. – Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matthew Garrett. Ferrioli issued the call after reviewing documents from a public records request related to the 2015 session transportation package negotiations that reveal Director Garrett misled transportation workgroup members by providing inaccurate carbon reduction numbers.

Transportation funding discussions ended abruptly on June 24, 2015 after Director Garrett announced in a Senate Special Committee on Sustainable Transportation hearing that carbon reduction numbers provided by ODOT that had formed the foundation of a bipartisan compromise to fund infrastructure investments were overstated. Emails obtained by the Senate Republican Office via a public records request show Director Garrett knew the greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”) estimates provided to the workgroup to guide carbon reduction discussions were inaccurate as early as June 10.

“In June, following the implosion of transportation negotiations, I demanded Governor Brown immediately request the resignation of Director Garrett due to gross incompetency at best and dishonest manipulation at worst,” said Ferrioli. “Whether Director Garrett knew the numbers ODOT provided the workgroup were wrong or he simply failed to provide the updated numbers in his possession, his decision to surprise workgroup members with new numbers in a public hearing without any advance warning led to the demise of a critical, bipartisan transportation infrastructure package for Oregonians that would have resulted in real carbon reduction. Director Garrett must resign effective immediately so ODOT can begin repairing its broken credibility and we can move forward with new negotiations to finally fix Oregon’s roads and bridges.”

Records show Director Garrett relayed a new GHG reduction estimate to two of Governor Brown’s advisors who were active in the transportation negotiations on June 10, 2015. However, advisors to Governor Brown continued to share documents with incorrect GHG estimates with legislative leaders and other stakeholders after recognizing the first GHG error, even while sensitive negotiations among members of the bipartisan transportation workgroup were ongoing. Director Garrett failed to correct the inaccurate carbon reduction numbers for two weeks during workgroup discussions.

Despite being aware of clear inconsistencies related to the GHG reduction estimates, Director Garrett failed to have ODOT staff vet the numbers until less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to testify before the Senate Sustainable Transportation Committee. Director Garrett was notified by ODOT staff the next morning that previous GHG reduction estimates, including the estimates shared with lawmakers, were in fact inaccurate. He did not reveal the significant mistake to lawmakers until he was called to testify before the Sustainable Transportation Committee several hours later.

A memo and timeline detailing relevant events during the June 2015 negotiations can be found here. Relevant public records can be accessed here.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, OR 78th Legislative Session, Transportation | 13 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • DavidAppell

    This “investigation” looks like a bunch of cooked-up nonsense.

    First of all, Ted Ferrioli has no idea what the “accurate” numbers are. That requires a substantial calculation (“model”), which I very much Ferrioli has done.

    Model results depend on assumptions. They vary based on those assumptions.

    Garrett’s June 10th email shows he thought the number was rather low comparitively: 0.87 MMt (million metric tons).

    Further emails from him (like on June 23rd) clearly show he wanted to be sure the numbers were as good as possible.

    From the information Ferrioli provides here, it’s not clear where the figure of 2.02 MMt came from.

    Note that the following Operations brochure from ODOT uses and even LOWER number of 0.61 Mmt.

    Garrett made clear in his June 24th testimony that the 2.02 MMt number was too big, and he thought it should be 0.43 MMt.

    This hardly means anyone was lying or being deceptive. Number change during model runs as people make different assumptions.

    Based on all this, it’s a much more likely explanation that ODOT’s Garrett was trying to get the best number he could, amid the flurry of calculations that were going on at the time.

    Ferrioli’s investigation looks like a way to cook up a controversy about global warming by any means necessary.

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  • David Clark

    Of course NO ONE has ever shown that CO2 is causing dangerous global warming.

    • DavidAppell

      You didn’t address at all what the post was about.

      2003 – 70,000 deaths – European heat wave
      2010 – 9,516 – Moscow heat wave
      2013 – 7,300 – Typhoon Haiyan
      2015 – 2000 – Pakistan heat wave
      2015 – 2500 – India heat wave

      • David Clark

        Far more people die in the cold and you know it.
        Why do you keep distorting the truth?
        Are you being paid?

        • DavidAppell

          Prove it.

          • David Clark

            Right AFTER you prove that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming.

          • DavidAppell

            I didn’t think you could prove it. And I was right.

          • David Clark

            I thought you couldn’t prove that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming. And I was right.

          • DavidAppell

            How many more deaths do you need?

          • DavidAppell

            Are you Karlock again, using another pseudonym?

            Why do you feel you can’t comment under your real name?

          • Dem Rite

            David Appell, servile twin separated at birth from Steve Novick would like to ruminate as Oregon State Attorney General, along with Erick Blair d’oh SOS, steer the entire state of Oregon along with Katie Bradbury Brown at the helm say whippet, dog habit.

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