Communication and Public Awareness

2015 COMPASS Education Series

Maureen Bock, Oregon Department of Transportation and Colleen Gants, PRR

September 24, 2015: Funding Transportation into the Future: Oregon Launches a User Fee Designed to Replace the Gas Tax

Oregon is into the third month of a groundbreaking new way to fund transportation improvements – it’s based on a user-pays system rather than a traditional gas tax. Oregon has studied and tested similar pilot programs over the past 12 years and is the first state in the nation to launch a payment system based on miles driven. Together, Maureen Bock, Oregon Transportation Department, and Colleen Gants, PRR, have been working to implement the new system (“OReGO”), explain the need, and launch a superior customer experience. Ms. Bock and Ms. Gants will review successes, challenges and trends that customers and the OReGO implementation team have experienced thus far.

September 25, 2015: Funding Transportation into the Future: Lessons Learned in Oregon’s Pioneering Road User Fee Program – OReGO

Transportation funding is a challenge on the state and national level. Many states have passed gas tax increases, while others are waiting to ride out the 2016 presidential election before they put an increase to the public. Some states that passed a gas tax are saying this will be their last gas tax increase. Oregon is getting ahead of the curve by introducing a user fee to replace the gas tax. The state has partnered with private companies to manage customer accounts, recruit volunteers, and market the OReGO. What have we learned from other industries about developing a superior customer experience?

About Colleen Gants:
Colleen is PRR’s transportation and tolling expert, with more than 25 years of community relations, marketing, and public affairs experience. As Co-President at PRR she leads public involvement and communications for major design-build, tolling, and infrastructure projects on both coasts, integrating with and serving as an extension of her clients. With her political and strategic communications savvy; wide range of trusted relationships with citizens, interest groups, and government; and boundless energy, Colleen has helped many clients deliver successful projects on time and within budget.

About Maureen Bock:
Maureen Bock is ODOT’s OReGO/RUC Program Manager. Maureen was formerly the fuels tax manager with ODOT, where she led the effort to develop statewide compliance through education and taxpayer assistance in addition to audits. She also developed the business case that was instrumental in replacing the legacy Fuels Tax System with one that will enable greater compliance. She left ODOT to work with the Oregon Department of Energy, where she led in redesigning its tax credit programs including those affecting transportation. Maureen returned to ODOT last fall to become the Road Usage Charge Business Implementation Manager. In that role, she worked with a team of business and IT professionals, as well as three commercial vendors, to design and implement the business processes and systems that support the collection of road usage charges.

Representative Joe Palmer and Senator Bert Brackett

May 28, 2015: Idaho's Long and Winding Road

After many twists and turns, the Idaho Legislature passed a bill on April 11 to increase transportation funding to address Idaho's ongoing transportation funding shortfall. It wasn’t easy – important decisions never are. Join COMPASS as we welcome Representative Joe Palmer and Senator Bert Brackett, Chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, to learn more about the process they went through, the issues their committees grappled with, and what's next for transportation policy in Idaho. Each legislator will speak briefly on the topic of transportation during 2015 Idaho Legislative session before engaging in a panel discussion and Q&A moderated by Ken Burgess, Veritas Advisors.

Representative Joe Palmer:
Representative Joe Palmer represents District 20 in Ada County. He is currently serving his fourth term since being elected in 2008. Since 2010, Representative Palmer has served as Chair of the House Transportation and Defense Committee. In addition, he is a member of both the House Business and State Affairs Committees. Representative Palmer is a long-time resident of and business owner in Meridian. Palmer attended Ricks College (now Brigham Young University – Idaho), served in the Idaho Army National Guard, and completed his degree at Boise State University. When not attending to legislative duties, Representative Palmer enjoys flying and spending time with his family. He currently lives with his wife, Leslie, and is the father of four children.

Senator Bert Brackett:
Senator Bert Brackett represents District 23, which includes portions of Elmore, Owyhee, and Twin Falls Counties, a position he has held since 2008. Since 2013, Senator Brackett has served as Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee; in addition, he is a member of the Senate Agricultural Affairs and Resources and Environment Committees and a former member of the Senate Finance Committee. Prior to Brackett’s service in the Senate, he served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives. Senator Brackett was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, and has remained a lifelong resident of southern Idaho. Brackett received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Idaho in 1966 and served in the Idaho Army National Guard before beginning his ranching career. Brackett has been involved with several civic and political organizations, including the Idaho Cattle Association (former President), Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission (former Chair), University of Idaho College of Agriculture Consulting Counsel (former President), School Board (former member), and the Three Creek Highway District (former commissioner). When not attending to legislative duties, Senator Brackett is a rancher at Flat Creek Ranch near Three Creek. He currently lives with his wife, Paula, and is the father of five and grandfather of fifteen.

Frank Tooke, Federal Highway Administration, Idaho Division

March 5, 2015: Transportation Funding: What happens to my gas tax dollars and why should I care?

How does our fuel tax make its way from the gas pump to filling a pothole or building a bridge? Who collects the money? How is it divvied up? Does Idaho get its fair share? Are there restrictions on how the money can be spent? Who makes those decisions? How do federal, state, and local transportation dollars work together? Join Frank Tooke from the Federal Highway Administration, Idaho Division, as he answers these questions and more to shed light on what happens to your transportation dollars and how transportation funding decisions really do affect you.

March 6, 2015: Are we there yet? Navigating the maze of transportation funding

Funding transportation projects can be complicated. There are a myriad of issues to consider: What funding sources are available for my project? What is the match rate? Will a federally funded project cost more than a local project? Why? Is the federal Highway Trust Fund really going broke? Will that affect my project? What about federal transportation legislation, such as MAP-21? Didn’t it expire? How does that affect my projects? In short, how does transportation funding “work”? Join Frank Tooke from the Federal Highway Administration, Idaho Division, as he answers your questions and helps you navigate the maze of transportation funding.

Frank Tooke:
Frank Tooke is the Financial Manager for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Idaho Division. In his twelve years of financial work at FHWA, Mr. Tooke has managed the administration of federal land projects for 26 states, and overseen $270 million of federal aid funding per year in Idaho. In his position, Mr. Tooke is responsible for federal-aid financial management, innovative financing, and program reviews.

Brian Chandler, P.E., PTOE, Leidos

February 19 and 20, 2015: Roadway Safety: Worthy of Investment

Roadway Safety is a significant public health and economic issue. More than 200 people were killed in traffic crashes in Idaho in 2013, and more than 1,200 sustained serious injuries. Fortunately, researchers, engineers, and behavioral experts have developed proven treatments to address many types of crashes. Investing in these solutions with transportation funding provides the resources to reduce this suffering and improve quality of life in Treasure Valley and throughout Idaho.

Smart Investing: The Roadway Safety Portfolio

Researchers and practitioners have spent several decades devising new and improved treatments and implementation methods to make using roads safer.  Engineers can blanket low-cost, systemic treatments across a region to provide an overall benefit superior to fewer, larger safety projects. Incorporating safety elements into all projects (through policy modifications) is an important safety culture shift to make for long-term gains. As we look to the future of safety – to really consider a world approaching zero traffic deaths – we must embrace driver culture and technology to lead the next major change.

Brian Chandler:
Brian Chandler, P.E., PTOE, is Program Director of Transportation Solutions for Leidos. He began his career at Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT) as a traffic engineer and later served as State Traffic Safety Engineer, leading safety data analysis and statewide safety implementation. After serving as Safety Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Missouri Division, he began consulting work for Leidos in 2009. At Leidos, Mr. Chandler has developed more than 20 implementable safety plans for state DOTs, and his team partners with FHWA to promote innovative safety countermeasures.

Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Group

February 5 and 6, 2015: Better Transportation for Better Communities

This public presentation explored demographic and economic trends that affect future travel demands including changes in vehicle use, aging rural populations, increasing urbanization, changing user preferences, and increasing concerns about public health, affordability and environmental protection. Similarly, businesses are changing the way they use transportation systems: many are taking advantage of new technologies and cost saving opportunities to increase their productivity and competitiveness. This presentation will examine trends that affect the future of transportation, discuss their implications for transportation planning, and explore how transportation can better support economic development and foster strong communities.

Creating a Business Case for Transportation

This workshop explored demographic and economic trends that affect future travel demands, their policy implications, and ways to communicate these issues to decision-makers and the general public. Important trends include peaking vehicle travel, aging rural populations, increasing urbanization, changing user preferences, changing business practices, and increasing concerns about public health, affordability and environmental protection. This presentation examined these trends and how these trends will affect future transportation demands, discuss their implications for transportation policies and planning practices, and explore ways that state, regional and local agencies can better respond to future mobility needs. It described ways to quantify and communicate the economic, social and environmental benefits provided by more efficient and responsive transportation planning, and using a business model, will describe how transportation investments can provide positive economic returns (each dollar invested provides more than a dollar in savings and benefits).

Todd Litman:
Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transportation problems. His work helps expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation methods, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. His research is used worldwide in transportation planning and policy analysis.