May 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

BEST gets $10K to help LTD with Franklin project

3 min read
An industry group awards $10,000 to help Lane Transit District “grow the coalition…to support transforming Franklin Boulevard.”

Better Eugene Springfield Transportation is awarded $10,000 by APTA (American Public Transportation Association). But first, a question. At the May 17 LTD meeting:

[00:00:10] Rob Zako (BEST): I’m Rob Zako with Better Eugene Springfield Transportation.

[00:00:12] I just have a question about MovingAhead and the frequent transit network. A million-some-odd dollars added for MovingAhead? I didn’t realize that Moving Ahead was moving ahead.

[00:00:22] So there’s just a question about that. And not really clear what the $55 million for the Frequent Transit Network is. I don’t know, it’s probably fine, but I’m asking the question. Thank you very much.

[00:00:35] Tom Schwetz (LTD): Good evening. So, really quickly, what you’re seeing here is a result of processes that don’t necessarily jibe together. So the money that we have actually always used through MovingAhead gets approved by the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization), because it’s federal funding.

[00:00:56] We had planned to continue the MovingAhead process design refinement before all of this happened. And so the MPO had approved that funding and we had asked that it be added to the CIP (Community Investment Plan)

[00:01:13] Since that time, so, it’s been several months, obviously that project has been paused. And what you don’t see here, but what’s going on is that federal funding that the MPO distributes, that represents an amount that we can use for other purposes. And so what we’re proposing in the MPO process, and it’s going through it right now, is to put the design money back into the pot and then draw that same amount out to use for the frequent transit network safety and amenity program, which is what the additional resources are being used for.

[00:01:54] Basically that program is a project, as the name implies, that seeks to at various locations along the EmX system, make improvements to the safety of a given station or the amenities that might be at a station. But that’s what that money is there for, in a broad sense.

[00:02:10] So in essence we’ve moved money that we had identified for MovingAhead, when that was a viable project. It’s been on hold now, so we were able to move that money in to put it to good use on the frequent transit network.

[00:02:24] John Q: Rob Zako also offered public comment. At the May 17 meeting:

[00:02:31] Gino Grimaldi (LTD board president): I have one person signed up. That’s Mr. Rob Zako from BEST.

[00:02:35] Rob Zako (BEST): Thank you to Jameson. We had a really good event on April 10. Some of you got to attend there with former Congressman (Peter) DeFazio and Lynn Peterson, Metro president, and very well attended, great event, heard nothing but good things. You were awesome, outstanding. And then you and I got to speak up in Portland a week or so after that—a lot of interest in transportation, in the future of transportation in our community, and I think that’s an encouraging sign.

[00:02:58] For me, I want to share with you, as you may know, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently announced eight local coalition grants to—I don’t know the names of all the organizations—but one in Everett, Washington; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; St. Paul, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Miami (Florida); and Eugene / Springfield. So BEST is one of eight organizations that got a $10,000 award from APTA to support you, actually.

[00:03:29] Our grant application (LTD supported our grant application, thank you very much) is aiming to educate the public and help the public understand the importance of transportation along Franklin Boulevard, double-tracking EmX, making that a ‘complete street.’ We’ve hired two UO student interns already for the summer. We’re going to be going and literally walking the street and engaging with students, engaging with people, engaging with businesses, and talking about that project.

[00:03:52] So, we’re looking forward to that. Thank you very much.

[00:03:55] Gino Grimaldi (LTD board president): Thanks, Rob, and thanks for everything you do for our community and keeping us moving forward.

[00:03:59] John Q: On Facebook, APTA announced that the grant will support BEST efforts “to grow the coalition…to support transforming Franklin Boulevard.”

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