OTA Dispatch Issue 2, 2022

6 Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch Mark Gibson, Chair OTA in Action Committee/ President, Siskiyou Transportation IN EVERY ISSUE of the Dispatch and frankly every time I speak, whether at the OTA Spring Safety Conference, the OTA Leadership Convention, or anywhere in between, I mention involvement. So, in this article let’s focus on how OTA members can—and should—become involved in the local or regional committees and commissions maintained by ODOT and other entities. Area Commission on Transportation (ACT) Area Commissions on Transportation (ACTs) are regional commissions chartered by the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC). They address all aspects of transportation with a primary focus on the state transportation system, including regional and local issues that tie into the state system. To do this effectively, they interface with local organizations, such as cities, counties, tribal lands, Metropolitan Planning, etc., that deal with transportation-related issues. Elected officials representing the local geographic area make up 50% of an ACT. The rest of the ACT is made up of interested stakeholders, such as trucking, air, rail, bikes, pedestrian, and other groups deemed appropriate by the local ACT and the OTC. As you can imagine that results in a lot of opinions in one room. This conglomeration also points to why it’s vital that trucking is in that room. We all know that some of these groups are much more vocal than others, demanding attention and getting what they ask for without any pushback. That is to our industry’s detriment. In large part, trucking pays for the roads that everyone uses, yet what we require—not just what we want—to travel them safely is often the last thing considered. ACTs also play an important advisory role in the development of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The ACT facilitates the public process for area projects selection priorities. Imagine if, instead of bike lanes or pedestrian paths, our tax dollars go to improved freight movement or congestion relief. There are 12 ACTs in Oregon, many of which have trucking representation; however, many do not. How trucking is treated by an ACT can differ. We may be lumped in with freight, which means someone with no trucking experience can represent our interests—or not. Having visibility to proposed transportation projects means we can have a voice in their eventual outcome. OTA has been working with ODOT to ensure trucking is fully represented on all 12 ACTs. Now we need to get members in those rooms (or on the Zooms). OTA will be actively recruiting members to get involved. For now, learn more about ACTs, at www.oregon.gov/ odot/get-involved/pages/area_commissions.aspx. Advisory Committees “A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.”–Milton Berle ODOT has a long list of standing committees, 23 and counting meet on a regular basis. All committees are transportation related and they can certainly all try your patience, from the Freight Advisory Committee to the Tolling Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee. These advisory committees are open to public membership but are limited to members from different interest groups— bikes, peds, trucking, heavy haul, etc. In addition to standing committees, nearly every major road project in Oregon, at least those funded by the state, have Citizen or Community Advisory Committees that are put together specifically for the project at hand. These committees can often give birth to additional sub-committees. Due to the nature of these project committees, any number of non-transportation issues or ideas can crop up. Just look at the I-5 Rose Quarter project as an example—and as another reason for OTA members to get involved. Oregon’s trucking industry can Get Involved: Time for Trucking to Represent “Don’t just think about getting involved—act on it.”