The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is Oregon’s four-year transportation capital improvement program. It is also the document that identifies the funding and schedule for transportation projects and programs. The STIP encompasses all transportation projects that require state or federal oversight and therefore, includes projects on the federal, state, city, and county transportation systems, multimodal projects (highway, passenger rail, freight, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian), and projects in the National Parks, National Forests, and Indian Reservations.
In Oregon, most STIP projects fall into one of two categories:
- Fix-It projects that protect the state’s investment in the transportation infrastructure by systematically preserving all elements of the existing system. Examples include:
- Repaving and sidewalk repair.
- Improving safety or drainage.
- Maintaining interstate highways.
- Rehabilitating bridges.
- Enhance projects that add to or create new transportation facilities, such as:
- Creating scenic byways and recreation trails.
- Adding bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Under these two broad categories are many work types (e.g., Pavement Preservation, Safety, Operations, Bicycle/Pedestrian). Most of the projects in the STIP include safety, preservation, and operational elements.
The STIP is how we set priorities and budget for improvements and additions to Oregon’s transportation systems. Federal and state funds cannot be spent on the transportation projects we need unless they are listed in the STIP. We want everyone to have a say in which transportation projects should be funded and built. The STIP process provides different opportunities for you to get informed, stay involved, and give us your input on proposed projects and the STIP process.
The STIP outlines Oregon’s transportation priorities for the next four years. The STIP is updated every two to three years to keep it current. It takes almost three years to complete the STIP process. This means that the early part of a new STIP – evaluating goals and funding – begins as the previous STIP cycle is finishing. However, there is only one STIP adopted and in use at a time.
Federal regulations require that all federally funded transportation projects and all “regionally significant” transportation projects be identified in the STIP. Regionally significant refers to a project that is on a facility that serves regional transportation needs and would be included in the modeling of the metropolitan area’s transportation network. At a minimum, this includes all capacity-expanding projects on principal arterial highways and all fixed guideway transit facilities that offer a significant alternative to regional highway travel. Regionally significant also refers to projects that are of significant interest to the local community. Additionally, all projects in a Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Improvement Program (MPO TIP or MTIP) must be included in the STIP exactly as they are listed in the MTIP. Federal regulations require each state to produce a STIP at least once every four years. This requirement exists for two reasons:
- Fiscal Constraint: To show that a state has the funds necessary to complete scheduled transportation projects; and,
- Air Quality Conformity: To certify that a state’s transportation program conforms to federal air quality regulations.
By federal regulation, all four years of the STIP must be fiscally constrained. This means the STIP can only include projects for which the state can reasonably expect adequate funding. No projects will be listed unless the funding source is identified. The fiscal constraint requirements apply to local, regional, and state projects. The 2015-2018 STIP contains almost $1.25 billion in projects and programs over the four year period. Sources available for funding include federal transportation funds, state highway funds, and other funds.
Federal funding levels are based on the current federal funding act, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The FAST Act is the federal law that provides federal funds for transportation projects to move people and freight, and was enacted December 4, 2015. The law authorizes Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the five-year period 2016-2020.
Projects cannot be included in the STIP unless funding is available to complete all phases of the project listed. All projects are scheduled for construction or implementation according to their priority and timing of funding availability. Recognizing that a project may be unavoidably delayed or actual revenues from state and federal sources may differ from those originally forecast; projects in the STIP can be moved from one year to another.
There are federal regulations and state policies regarding local government and public involvement for the STIP. The federal regulations state that a documented public involvement process must be developed and used that provides opportunities for public review and comment at key decision points. The regulations stipulate that the state:
- Establish early and continuous public involvement opportunities that provide timely information about transportation issues and decision making processes to citizens, affected public agencies, representatives of public transportation employees, freight shippers, representatives of users of public transportation, representatives of users of pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities, representatives of the disabled, providers of freight transportation services, and other interested parties;
- Provide reasonable public access to technical and policy information used in the development of the STIP;
- Provide adequate public notice of public involvement activities and time for public review and comment at key decision points, including a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed STIP;
- Demonstrate consideration and response to public input during the development of the STIP;
- To the maximum extent practicable, make public information available in electronically accessible formats and means, such as the internet, as appropriate to afford reasonable opportunity for consideration of public information;
- To the maximum extent practicable, ensure that public meetings are held at convenient and accessible locations and times;
- Include a process for seeking out and considering the needs of those traditionally underserved by existing transportation systems, such as low-income and minority households, who may face challenges accessing employment and other services; and
- Provide for the periodic review of the effectiveness of the public involvement process to ensure that the process provides full and open access to all interested parties and revise the process, as appropriate.
Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) own Public Involvement Policies and Procedures document (revised May 28, 2009) is more prescriptive, stating that:
- The Department will provide a 45-day public review of the draft STIP, and a 45-day public review of any major revision of the approved STIP;
- The Department will provide statewide opportunities for public comment on the draft STIP by scheduling at least two public meetings in each of ODOT’s five regions prior to adoption of the program by the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC);
- The Department will work with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to coordinate public involvement on the draft STIP with public involvement on the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP); and
The Department will consider all public comment on the draft STIP prior to adoption of the program by the OTC. The federal planning requirements (23 CFR 1410.2 I 6(b)) state that:
- MPOs shall be involved on a cooperation basis for the portions of the program affecting metropolitan planning areas;
- Indian Tribal Governments and the Secretary of the Interior shall be involved on a consultation basis for the portions of the program affecting areas of the state under the jurisdiction of an Indian Tribal Government;
- Federal lands managing agencies shall be involved on a consultation basis for the portions of the program affecting areas of the state under their jurisdiction; and
- Affected local officials with responsibility for transportation shall be involved on a consultation basis for the portions of the program in non-metropolitan areas of the state.
All projects in the STIP must conform to the goals of the federal Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) and the related State Implementation Plan for Air Quality. Oregon has nine areas that fall under the CAAA designation of ‘nonattainment or maintenance’ relating to the quality of air. These areas are Portland/Metro Salem/Keizer, Eugene/Springfield, Medford, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Lakeview, Oakridge, and La Grande.
All regionally significant projects (those that may impact air quality) proposed for construction in these areas must conform to the goals of the CAAA in order to be approved for funding. A transportation modeling process is used to determine an area’s or project’s conformity. The modeling is complex, expensive and lengthy at usually about four months and upwards of $80,000 per area. Modeling takes place after the public review period for the draft STIP and prior to the approval of the final STIP.
‘Outreach’ activities—focused discussions with transportation stakeholders, community groups and civic clubs, city and county public works officials and staff, and councils of governments (COGs)—are part of each ODOT region’s monthly public involvement activities. These meetings provide the public with opportunities to learn about and comment on ODOT’s programs, projects, goals, and challenges. Ongoing feedback from this interaction provides ODOT management with necessary guidance as it develops the biennial STIP funding proposal.
ODOT conducts public involvement and outreach activities throughout the STIP development and project selection process. Outreach activities also occur as part of our transportation, systems and corridor planning efforts as well as during project development and construction.