ODOT to invest $1.2 billion toward preventing fatal crashes

Oregon

Traffic along NE 82nd near Alberta in Portland, May 7, 2021 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Transportation officials announced Monday they aim to to prevent traffic-related fatalities by directing $1.2 billion in federal funding toward new and existing safety programs in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said the funding, which is part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will target improving safety for travel whether it’s walking, biking, driving or using public transit.

“This additional investment will allow us to implement more safety projects statewide,” State Traffic Safety Engineer Christina McDaniel-Wilson said. “This means that 50 more fatalities or serious injuries and 750 more lower-severity crashes can be prevented over the life of these projects.”

ODOT is focused on preventing death and injury from motor vehicle crashes, along with improving safety measures during routine traffic stops.

This funding comes after a record number of traffic-related deaths were reported in the last year. As of Nov. 30, 2021, the Portland Police Bureau said there were 62 fatal crashes and 26 pedestrian fatalities in Portland which is the highest number of roadway crashes recorded since 1990 with 63 deaths.

“It’s hard to ignore the fact that we have a huge number, record setting numbers of fatalities, and we have very, very low numbers of police officers patrolling our streets,” Sgt. Ty Engstrom with PPB’s Traffic Division said during a November press conference.

Officials said the shortage of officers for traffic enforcement meant less crashes were being investigated.

Remaining funds will be invested in restoring local bridges, the All Roads Transportation Safety Program and the PROTECT Program.

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