Regional flexible funds come from three federal grant programs: the Surface Transportation Program, the Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Program and the Transportation Alternatives Program. These programs allow greater discretion on how the monies are spent – hence the term “flexible” – which allows for greater focus on local priorities and innovative solutions to transportation challenges.
2022-24 regional flexible funding policy direction
After a three-year discussion with the community to identify the region’s most urgent transportation needs, four investment priorities emerged in development of the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan. The 2022-24 regional flexible funds allocation policy direction uses these Regional Transportation Plan investment policies and also builds upon previous regional flexible funding policy established by JPACT and the Metro Council. Projects funded through the 2022-24 funding cycle are to align with the four primary Regional Transportation Plan investment priorities:
- equity: reduce disparities and barriers faced by communities of color, people in poverty, and people with low English proficiency
- safety: reduce fatal and severe injury crashes, particularly focusing on the High Crash Corridor network and equity focus areas identified in the Regional Transportation Plan
- climate: expand transit, complete regional active transportation networks, and leverage emerging technology to meet Climate Smart Strategy policies
- congestion: manage congestion and travel demand through low-cost, high value solutions.
As defined by the current regional flexible funding policy, these funds may be used for:
- active transportation, or improvements for walking, biking and access to transit
- arterial expansion, improvements and reconstruction
- throughway expansion
- high-capacity transit expansion
- transportation system management and operations
- regional travel options
- transit oriented development.
Total estimated funding available
The 2022-24 regional flexible funds cycle follows the same two-step framework the region has followed since the 2014-15 allocation cycle. This framework was adopted to ensure the region is investing in the system in accordance with Regional Transportation Plan direction and the regional flexible funding objectives.
Step 1: Regional commitments | ~$102 million
- Transit and project development bond commitment: ~$69 million
- Region-wide program investments, planning: ~$33 million
- One-time strategic investments: ~$350,000
Step 2: Capital investments | ~$43 million
- Active transportation and complete streets: ~$32 million
- Regional freight and economic development initiatives: ~$11 million
Total funding for 2022-24 regional flexible funds cycle: ~$145 million
Step 2 funding application information
Of the total available funding in Step 2, 75% of funds will be directed to projects in the active transportation and complete streets category. The other 25% of funds will be directed to projects in the regional freight and economic development initiatives category.
Active transporation and complete streets
For this category, recommended approaches for developing projects include:
- Improvements concentrated geographically in a travel corridor/area or portion thereof
- Project design considers guidance found in Chapter 9 of the Regional Active Transportation Plan
- Potentially merges portions of several planned projects and several project types (bike, trail, pedestrian, transit stops) into a unified corridor/area wide project
- Project development will be allowed as an eligible activity for funding to address project readiness issues or as part of a strategy to phase implementation of projects.
Regional freight and economic development initiatives
For this category, recommended approaches for developing projects with a construction focus include:
- system management on arterial freight routes
- small capital projects.
For this category, recommended approaches for developing projects with a planning/strategy development focus include:
- project development for specific arterial freight routes
- consideration/development of regional strategies to invest in transportation improvements.
Project selection process
Call for projects: early April to June 2019
Technical evaluation and risk assessment: August 2019
Public comment: September 2019
County coordinating committee/City of Portland recommendations: November 2019
TPAC/JPACT discussion and action: December 2019
Metro Council action: January 2020