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Oregon

Number of Area Commissions on Transportation:  12  Total annual funding: Varies; formula based on population, vehicle miles traveled, ton miles traveled, and vehicle registrations  Date established: 1996 The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) oversees state transportation policy and authorized the creation of Area Commissions on Transportation (ACTs) in 1996.  ACTs are voluntary regional advisory entities that serve a variety of roles in bringing together state and local partners in transportation, planning, and development.  ACTs address highway, transit, and transportation safety issues.  They play a critical role in serving as a “forum for the discussion and coordination of current and future transportation issues and to make recommendations to the OTC.”[1]  The commissions are focused on soliciting participation and representation from city and county governments, tribal councils, port and transit authorities, as well as private industry and the general public to foster better collaboration with the OTC and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The 12 commissions are staffed by a variety of models, including by the ODOT only, in partnership between the state and established regional development organizations (known locally as councils of governments and/or economic development districts) or by a coalition of several state, regional, and local organizations.

Map of Oregon's ACT boundaries

Click to enlarge (Courtesy Oregon DOT)

The ACTs play a key advisory role in the development of the state’s project investment and project prioritization programs, as well as the pursuit of a seamless and multimodal transportation system.  Through a public involvement process, ACTs assist the state in its creation of the STIP. This process identifies, prioritizes, and recommends infrastructure and capital improvement projects for inclusion in the STIP.[2]  “The ACTs serve as boots on the ground,” notes Jerri Bohard, ODOT’s Transportation Development Division Administrator.  “We need local government buy-in for the projects we do, particularly those that make changes to the system.  We are transparent about the projects we select.”[3]

To develop a comprehensive and inclusive transportation network, ACTs are encouraged to “consider all modes and aspects of the Transportation System in formulating recommendations, taking into account the provision of elements and connections between air, marine, rail, highway, trucking, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.”[4]  Though the OTC has final say over decisions and planning, the ACTs recommendations and suggestions are influential.  The OTC meets face-to-face in the regions with the ACTs to stay up-to-date on regional transportation needs, challenges, and opportunities.

Funding for enhancement projects is allocated to five established regions throughout the state on a formula that computes population, vehicle miles traveled, ton miles traveled, and vehicle registrations.  The ACTs then collaborate to identify how best to utilize funding to implement projects of value to the region.[5]

For more information on Oregon’s ACTs, visit www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/Pages/act_main.aspx.

[1] Oregon Transportation Commission (2003).  Policy on Formation and Operation of Area Commissions on Transportation (ACTs), www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/docs/acts/actpolicy0603.pdf

[2] Oregon Department of Transportation. (nd) “Area Commissions on Transportation,” www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/Pages/act_main.aspx

[3] Personal communication with Jerri Bohard, June 2016

[4] Oregon Transportation Commission (2003)

[5] Personal communication with Jerri Bohard, June 2016