New Grant Program to Fund Off-Road Pedestrian and Bike Infrastructure in Oregon

A new grant program launched by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) aims to fill a key gap in the funding available for bike and pedestrian paths.

2 minute read

August 16, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Hillsboro, Oregon

The Orenco Woods Nature Park in Hillsboro, Oregon. | Yanqiang Dai / Shutterstock

"The Oregon Department of Transportation has taken the wraps off a new program that will fund off-street path projects across the state," reports Jonathan Maus. 

The Oregon Community Paths program, as the new funding program is called, could offer around $19.2 million between federal and state sources through 2024, although that total is subject to some fluctuation depending on budget tightening connected to the economic depression caused by the pandemic.

"ODOT will pull together four funding sources — one from the federal government, three from the State of Oregon — to help plan and construct paths that are not on the roadway right-of-way," according to Maus. "That stipulation is important because Highway Trust Fund, gas tax, and nearly every other major revenue source is legally required to be spent in the right-of-way."

So, for example, safe routes to school that potentially use paths that are not on the roadway, exempted from Highway Trust Fund spending, would be able to seek funding from the new Oregon Community Paths program, according to Maus. 

Maus provides additional details on the four kinds of funding fueling the new program, as well as the project types that will be eligible to apply for the new funding. The program website includes more details about the funding schedule. Webinars providing more information about the program are scheduled for August 21 and September 18.

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