Safety is vital to every transportation program and project – and a key part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Strategic Action Plan. Much of the estimated $1.2 billion in additional transportation funding on its way to Oregon from the recently passed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will focus on safety.
This new funding will reinforce existing efforts and add new ones to improve safety for all of us as we travel around our communities and our state – whether we are walking, biking, driving or taking public transit.
“This additional investment will allow us to implement more safety projects statewide,” State Traffic Safety Engineer Christina McDaniel-Wilson said. “This means that 50 more fatalities or serious injuries and 750 more lower-severity crashes can be prevented over the life of these projects.”
The act reinforces existing federal transportation safety programs and introduces two more urgent safety needs:
- One is to prevent death and injury from crashes involving motor vehicles striking other vehicles and individuals stopped at the roadside – this aligns with Oregon’s “Move over” law and other efforts to improve the safety of our emergency responders on the roads.
- The other is to educate the public on law enforcement practices during traffic stops and to train law enforcement on improving the safety of interactions with the public during traffic stops. This includes reducing racial profiling in traffic stops and aligns with ODOT’s goal of improving equity in Oregon’s transportation system.
While gathering Oregonians’ input in the months ahead, ODOT has already identified several major investments in safety for Oregon communities such as:
- $45 million in additional funding for the All Roads Transportation Safety Program. More on ARTS: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/engineering/pages/arts.aspx.
- More than a quarter billion dollars in additional direct investment in repairing and replacing Oregon’s bridges – making them safer during a major earthquake and for recovery after a major disaster. More on state bridges: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Bridge/Pages/index.aspx
- $94 million for a new PROTECT Program to enhance the transportation system’s resilience to disasters, including adapting to climate change. More at ODOT Climate Office: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Programs/Pages/Climate-Office.aspx
- Potentially as much as $200 million in additional funding for cities, counties and metropolitan planning organizations for safety, bicycle/pedestrian, bridge, and other community priorities.
“Much of the additional funds for safety will support our All Roads Transportation Safety program, which uses data and national research to select the best projects that will effectively reduce the most fatal and serious injury crashes on all roads in Oregon,” State Traffic Services Engineer Angela Kargel said. “IIJA also includes a new effort to address pedestrian and bicycle safety needs, so we’ll see more of those projects in the coming years as well.”