Q&A: Oregon federal infrastructure investments
Oregon will receive more than $5.4 billion over the next five years from the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act approved by Congress late Friday, Nov. 5.
According to the most recently released information, that includes $1.2 billion for the Oregon Department of Transportation. The act does not specify which projects must be funded, however.
A fact sheet released by the White House said Oregon will receive funds in the following categories:
• $3.4 billion from the reauthorization and increases to the federal Highway Trust Fund for road projects over five years.
• $747 million in public transit investments
• $529 million to improve access to safe drinking water
• $268 million for bridge replacement and repairs
• $211 million for airport investments
• $100 million for internet broadband expansion
• $52 million to expand electric vehicle charging station network
• $39 million to help protect against wildfires
• $15 million to protect against cyber attacks
Here are answers to questions about the act provided by Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's office:
How much money can Oregon expect to receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act approved?
Oregon will receive at least $5.36 billion, from the existing formula programs alone. The total will be higher than that once the new programs are established and funding from competitive grants is factored in. The competitive awards for projects in Oregon will vary from year to year, so there is no way to know yet exactly how much Oregon will receive over the five-year span.
How much of the $3.4 billion for road project will come from the reauthorization of the federal Highway Trust Fund?
Some but not all. For example, the act included $110 billion in new funding for highways and bridges, over and above what would have been allocated under the previous law.
Which state agency or agencies will receive how much of the money?
That depends on the program. But using transportation as an example, a lot of the money will go to ODOT, which will then distribute it to projects directly or allocate it to localities. Some money will fall into competitive pots administered by US Department of Transportation, like the buckets for projects of national significance, Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program, Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program, and the National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program are all administered at the federal level.
Who will decide which projects and programs will be funded?
Depending on the program and project, the relevant state and federal agency. Again, using transportation as an example, ODOT and US DOT will make a lot of the decisions.
How will the decisions be made?
The decision-making processes will depend on which bucket the funds for a project are coming out of. For competitive grants, projects will be evaluated based on a specified set of criteria for each program —some of which is outlined in the bill.
There will be public involvement in some of the processes but not necessarily directly in the project selection process. Many large transportation projects will include venues for public input or will be required to follow National Environmental Policy Act requirements which also provides opportunities for public input.
Are there specific projects designated in the legislation that are guaranteed to receive funding, like the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project, the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, or TriMet's Southwest Corridor MAX Line Project? If so, how much money has been designated for these projects?
There are no earmarks in the bill and no specific projects are guaranteed to receive funding. Funds will either be allocated to the states according to the various formulas or they'll be awarded to projects through a competitive process.
The act passed 228 to 206 on Nov. 5. Nine Democrats voted no, and 13 Republicans voted yes. It had previously been approved by the U.S. Senate and now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.
More details are available in this White House summary here.
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