SKATS, the regional transportation planning agency for the greater Salem/Keizer area, is in the process of prioritizing projects in the region for the next 6 years. The SKATS Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) establishes the schedule and priority for the near-term funding and implementation of transportation improvement projects.
Earlier this year, SKATS put out a call for projects eligible for federal funds in fiscal year (FY) 2021-2026 TIP. SKATS received 14 applications from local jurisdictions within the SKATS MPO boundary, with funding requests reaching over double than the $15M that is available. The SKATS Policy Committee now needs to prioritize which projects will receive funding for implementation over the next 6 years.
Several of these projects would make bike/ped and transit improvements, and we’re encouraged to see many getting preliminarily ranked highly by the Technical Advisory Committee. We also have concerns, including the widening roads and adding lanes for more car traffic on Center Street, but for now we’re focused on lifting up projects that promote a safer, healthier multimodal transportation system. Here are just a few projects we’d like to see prioritized this cycle:
- Funding for additional three years to support Safe Routes to School programming
- Safer crossing improvements throughout Salem
- New alternative-fuel buses for Salem Area Mass Transit District
Final adoption of the TIP isn’t planned until May 2020, but the Policy Committee is expected to make recommendations as to which projects will be funded at their next meeting on October 22, 2019. So while the public comment period will stay open until Spring of next year, decisions in the next few weeks will likely determine outcomes for projects in the next 6 years. Submit comments to the Policy Committee and consider attending their next meeting on the 22nd, to make your voice heard!