2014 PACTS Regional Six-Year Transit Capital Plan
In 2012 the Portland Urbanized Area became a federally-designated “transportation management area” because our federally-determined urbanized area population (203,944) exceeded a 200,000 population threshold. This, along with new rules under MAP-21, the Federal Transportation Authorizing legislation, meant that the Federal Transit Administration gave the public transportation organizations in our region more funding and greater responsibility regarding the programming of FTA funds available to our region.
The fundamental difference in MAP-21 is the absence of Congressional earmarks. In the past transit was almost totally dependent on these discretionary funds for nearly all their capital projects whether new or replacement. What MAP-21 attempts to do is provide predictability in the amount of funds coming to the region on an annual basis so the providers can plan their capital maintenance and allocate funds accordingly.
In response, the seven public transportation organizations developed a Regional Six-Year Transit Capital Plan to help them collaborate in the use of the FTA capital funds. The PACTS Executive Committee endorsed this plan in May 2014. In addition, this exercise has revealed a modest amount of funding that may be used for new projects, somewhat akin to the old discretionary funds but with local predictability and ability to plan. These funds are part of what is being called the Regionally Administered Discretionary (RAD) program. The Transit Committee has developed a Policy and Application process to guide how RAD program funds are spent according to the expansion and enhancement priorities of the region.