Portland questions Metro's transportation plan
Two Portland bureaus are charging that current projects in a regional transportation plan update fall short of meeting climate change and other goals.
Metro, the elected regional government with responsibility for coordinating such projects, is updating its Regional Transportation Plan. It recently released a list of projects requested by governments in the region totaling $14.8 billion. Most were road, bridge, walking and bike projects.
In the analysis, Metro said the mix of requested projects would not meet regional greenhouse gas reduction, equity and other goals. It also said congestion will continue increasing, in large part because there are expected to be 500,000 more people and 350,000 more jobs in the region by 2040.
"The region will not achieve the adopted regional mobility policy within current funding levels or with the mix of investments included in the analysis. There will be a 32 percent increase in daily vehicle miles traveled. The forecasted increase in population and jobs will mean more driving in the region, despite significant increases in biking, walking and transit travel," it said in part.
On Jan. 18, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability sent a letter to the Metro Council faulting the project mix.
"Under even the best scenario, the region will fall short of the targets and visions agreed upon in the Climate Smart Strategy and the 2040 Growth Plan. These outcomes have consequences for the region's economic development, air quality, environmental justice, and quality of life," reads the letter signed by PBOT Director Leah Treat and BPS Director Susan Anderson, referring to two Metro policies.
The letter asks Metro to work with Portland and other jurisdictions in the region to develop a new project list that better meets regional goals.
"We ask that you direct Metro staff to work with our staff and others from around the region to fully explore the options and to develop a clear path forward. It is our hope that we can continue to work closely with Metro and our regional partners to develop a plan that includes future strategic transportation investments that set us in the right direction to reach our common equity, safety, and climate targets," it reads.
Two Metro advisory committees began discussing the project mix and letter this week.
You can learn more about the Regional Transportation Plan update at www.oregonmetro.gov/2018projects.
You can read the letter here.