On Thursday, Oct. 13, Metro Council approved a total of $152.8 million for the 2025-27 cycle of regional flexible funds.
As the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for the greater Portland region, Metro allocates regional flexible funds. This money from the federal government can be used for a wide range of projects. It is not a lot of money, but it can help with crucial gaps and long-awaited fixes. The projects in this package carry out the Regional Transportation Plan investment priorities of advancing equity, making travel safer, relieving congestion and making progress towards the Climate Smart Strategy commitments.
In this process, the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT), the Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee (TPAC) and Metro Council considered how the available funding could be used strategically to make needed investments in roads, trails and sidewalks throughout the greater Portland area. Regional flexible fund allocations happen every three years.
“What an amazing process it was this round,” said Councilor Shirley Craddick as she reflected on the innovative and creative new approaches to outcomes-based evaluation that guided decisions about the final project list. This year's cycle combined the regional flexible funds process with the process for allocating funds to trails from the 2019 Parks and Nature Bond.
Two-step funding process
A two-step process is used to deliver regional flexible funds to address the diverse transportation needs across the region.
Step one is a series of region-wide investments totaling $105.4 million to help plan travel corridors and build out the region’s interconnected transit system. This step funds a series of ongoing commitments that the region has determined are critical to meeting federal requirements and our regional goals.
Step two includes capital investments identified by local jurisdictions, which apply through a project selection process. Step two of the 2025-27 cycle of regional flexible funds. invests $47.4 million into 11 projects seeking to enhance access to transit and improve the local street and trail networks to make biking and walking safer. For this cycle, JPACT recommended that Step two funds should focus on projects that could best achieve equity and safety outcomes.
A 30-day public comment period in spring 2022 gathered public input on which projects were most important to community members and how these projects could make a difference in people’s communities.
Metro worked with engineering consultants at Kittleson & Associates to conduct risk assessments of all the project proposals. A critical step in guiding decisions that provide the best return on public investment, the assessment identified and addressed any scope, schedule or budget issues that could impact the completion of the projects.
List of projects
- 57th Avenue – Cully Boulevard: $7.64 million
- 162nd Avenue: $7.58 million
- 148th Avenue: $7.1 million
- Allen Boulevard: $0.5 million
- Beaverton Creek Trail: $2.05 million
- Council Creek Trail: $5.5 million
- Fanno Creek Trail: $1.1 million
- I-205 Multi-Use Path: $1.1 million
- North Portland Greenway – Columbia to Cathedral Park: $4.86 million
- Sandy Blvd: $6.5 million
- Willamette Falls Drive: $3.5 million
Many of these projects will likely need additional funding and some will appear in future cycles requesting more investment to help fund all phases of the projects from the initial planning stage to the completion of construction.
While the Metro Council is in full support of the listed projects, they also recognize the gap in planning capacity and resources for smaller jurisdictions when applying for federal funds.
“[I] want to make sure we have on record that the kind of capacity for planning in the small and mid-sized cities is backed up, and we have a responsibility to name it for what it is and to help those cities be competitive in the future funding, in particular, the Infrastructure [Investment and Jobs] Act and the funds that stem from that,” said Councilor Christine Lewis.
Councilor Juan Carlos González added, “There were a lot of great projects and really, really good projects across the board, which led to some really hard decisions at the end of the day.”
Projects with major public support
Fanno Creek Trail
Recipient: City of Tigard
Amount awarded: $1,106,705
Summary: When complete, the Fanno Creek Trail will be a 15-mile trail connecting the City of Portland to the City of Tualatin, from the Willamette River to the Tualatin River. This regional trail is the primary north-south non-motorized transportation route through Washington County, paralleling Interstate 5 and Highway 217. This project will provide critical site analysis to prepare for funding, easement acquisition, design and construction of the most technically challenging Fanno Creek Trail gap between Southwest Bonita Road and Southwest Durham Road. Completion of this critical gap will contribute to the larger regional trail network and reinforce Tigard’s vision as an equitable community that is walkable, healthy and accessible for everyone.
Willamette Falls Drive
Recipient: City of West Linn
Amount awarded: $3,497,580
Summary: This project aims to greatly enhance bike, pedestrian and transit mobility along Willamette Falls Drive between 16th Street and Ostman Road. Its focus is on multimodal safety and filling gaps in this regional bike corridor that parallels Interstate 205. Improvements include better street corners and bus stops, intersection treatments prioritizing pedestrian visibility and protection and providing safe and direct bicycle paths and sidewalk connections to the City’s Historic Main Street business center.
North Portland Greenway – Columbia Boulevard to Cathedral Park
Recipient: City of Portland
Amount awarded: $4,860,647
Summary: North Portland Greenway connects to other regional trails such as Marine Drive Trail and Peninsula Crossing Trail. This project completes North Portland Greenway’s offroad multiuse connection between Kelley Point Park and the Rivergate Trail with 2,000 feet of new trail. This improves safety by allowing pedestrians and cyclists to avoid crossing North Marine Drive at-grade, or where the road intersects the highway at the same elevation. The trail will be paved asphalt, twelve feet wide with one-foot shoulders on each side. It will be physically separate from nearby roadways.
Recipient: Multnomah County
Amount awarded: $6,500,000
Summary: This project will transform Northeast Sandy Boulevard from Gresham City Limits to Northeast 230th Avenue into a complete street. The proposed design will add a center turn lane and turn lanes at strategic locations, and it will fill the pedestrian and bicycle facility gaps. The people that live along Sandy are diverse and this project will enhance transit access to many seniors, children, people with disabilities, people of many cultures, and people experiencing economic disparities. This will give them access to safer sidewalks, bike lanes, crossings and bus stops. Although this investment funds less than 30% of the total project cost, this investment will make a great impact on the surrounding community.
Regional Flexible Funds at work: The Red Electric Bridge
During the 2010-13 RFFA cycle, Metro helped fund a $2.1 million bridge from Southwest Portland to the Fanno Creek Trail in Washington County to increase transportation access and safety. Watch the following video to see the impact.