DeFazio Announces $4.9 Million Federal Grant Awarded to Oregon for Expanded Road User Charging Program
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today announced that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has received two Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grants providing $4.9 million from the Department of Transportation (DOT). DeFazio helped create this grant program in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act)”, which passed Congress in 2015. The grants were created to enable states to test and experiment with innovative ways to fund needed infrastructure improvements, including VMT mechanisms.
“From the bottle bill to vote by mail, Oregon has always led the country when it comes to finding innovative, creative solutions to complex issues facing our state,” said Rep. DeFazio. “With these grants, ODOT will have the resources it needs to address one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation—finding a sustainable, long-term solution to fully fund our massive transportation infrastructure needs. I am proud to have spearheaded the FAST Act, which created these grants, and I am proud that once again, Oregon is leading the way to meet this challenge.”
Oregon is the first state to operate a road usage charge (RUC) program where people pay for their use of the road by the mile rather than by the gallon of fuel. The first grant will extend the benefits of RUC technology to local municipalities where it can enable a local RUC to combat lack of local transportation funding. The grant will fund a one year-long pilot in the Portland area to test three different approaches to a local road usage charge. The second grant will create and operate a road usage charge (RUC) pilot between California and Oregon, who both have ongoing pilots in their respective states. The goal is to get these two systems to “talk” and expand the RUC concept to a regional level. These pilots, like the OREGO state program, will continue to be voluntary.