Oregon DOT launches campaign to educate residents about transportation funding

Aug. 7, 2019

The Keep Oregon Connected campaign is designed to help Oregonians understand how the state road charge program works to solve the transportation funding problem

The Oregon DOT (ODOT) recently launched its “Keep Oregon Connected” campaign to educate Oregonians about transportation funding and the need for new ways to pay for the state's roads and bridges.

“Oregon has about 74,000 miles of roads and more than 8,000 bridges, connecting residents and visitors to their favorite places,” said Travis Brouwer, ODOT's Assistant Director, in a news release. “However, most people who drive those highways and crossings don’t pause to think about their future maintenance and preservation.”

Like other states across the country, Oregon charges a gas tax to support the bulk of its transportation projects. The rise of fuel economy has forced all states to consider alternative funding mechanisms such as road usage charging. In 2015, ODOT launched OReGO, the nation’s first road charge program. The legislature first directed investigation into alternatives to the traditional gas tax in 2001. OReGO was designed to ensure drivers pay for the miles of road they use instead of the gallons of fuel their vehicles consume.

From January through March 2018, ODOT conducted qualitative online research with a panel of 60 Oregonians in different regions of the state to test potential education campaign messages, concepts, and tools that answer the following questions: 1) Why transportation funding matters in Oregonians’ daily lives; 2) Why decreasing fuel tax revenue is becoming a problem; and 3) Why the state needs to solve it now and how a delay will impact Oregon’s mobility. 

At the beginning of the study, 24% of participants did not know whether there was adequate transportation funding in Oregon. By the end, that number dropped to 8%.

With federal grant funding, ODOT designed the Keep Oregon Connected campaign to help Oregonians understand the transportation funding problem, what it means for them, and how OReGO works to solve it. ODOT will bring the campaign to community events around the state now through 2020, beginning with the Oregon State Fair in Salem, August 23-25. 



IMAGE: @OregonDOT via Twitter

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