Comment Now on Metro's Regional Transportation Plan

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Updated August 3, 2018.

The greater Portland area’s regional planning body, Metro, is in the process of updating the region’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which is a blueprint to guide investments for all forms of travel – motor vehicle, transit, bicycle and walking – and the movement of goods and freight throughout the Portland metropolitan region.

The updated vision for the future represents an aspirational view and reflects the values and desired outcomes expressed by the public, policymakers and community and business leaders:

Vision: By 2040, everyone in the greater Portland region will share in a prosperous, equitable economy and exceptional quality of life sustained by a safe, reliable, healthy and affordable transportation system with travel options.

The plan identifies current and future transportation needs and projects, how much funding is needed to meet those needs, and what funds the region expects to have available over the next 25 years from local, state, and federal sources to make those investments a reality (spoiler: we need more resources to achieve everything we need to keep this region a great place, and ensure it’s a great place for everyone).

The draft RTP is now out, along with an updated Regional Transportation Safety Strategy, Regional Transit Strategy, Regional Freight Strategy, and a new Regional Emerging Technology Strategy.

Public Comment is now open. Metro wants to hear from you! Do the investments in the project lists match your transportation priorities? What other ideas do you have on how to continue improving the region’s transportation system?

Comment now through August 13

Our view: As previously noted, sustained advocacy did result in an improved RTP project list, moving the region closer to achieving its equity, safety, and climate goals, and benefitting our community members who need it the most with more travel choices. Additionally, significant progress was made with racial equity goals and the Regional Transportation Safety Strategy, including a Vision Zero target for the region. Nevertheless, our assessment of the draft 2018 RTP is that we are planning to spend too much of our scarce transportation dollars on building roads and highways in the region, and it’s detrimental to our regional goals. Despite or perhaps because of ongoing regional population growth, we should not be expanding highways nor increasing roadway capacity for private vehicles; it is antithetical to our regional goals of improving racial equity, reducing emissions, and improving safety and livability.

There are well-documented ways to move people more efficiently and affordably than accommodating drive-alone vehicle capacity, but our regional blueprint does not fully embrace this vision; furthermore, the urgent needs to lead with racial equity and to address significant safety concerns, especially for people traveling by foot, is not obvious in this draft. Instead, we must shift immediately and region-wide to prioritize the needs of historically marginalized communities by spending more on transit and active transportation in these communities, and focus on addressing congestion and achieving all of our regional goals by getting people out of their cars throughout the greater Portland region. 

Update: Read our full comment letter on the draft 2018 RTP

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