Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF)
In 2017 the Oregon Legislature established the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) to expand public transportation services throughout Oregon. STIF Formula Funds are distributed to Qualified Entities (QE) based on payroll taxes paid and population within their respective boundaries.
Qualified Entity (QE)
Columbia County Rider (CCR) is the designated QE for Columbia County and has the responsibility of working with a local STIF Advisory Committee to determine how best to use STIF Formula Funds. STIF monies may be used for public transportation purposes that include planning, operations, bus purchases and administration of the STIF Program.
STIF Advisory Committee
Qualified Entities are required to have a STIF Advisory Committee that consists of at least 5 members who represent the diverse interests of the County’s geographic service area. The STIF Advisory Committee’s primary role is to review proposed projects and rank them in the order of priority and make recommendations to the Columbia County Board of Commissioners. The Columbia County Rider Transit Advisory Committee serves as Columbia County’s STIF Advisory Committee.
CCR is seeking to recruit additional committee members. Below are the STIF Committee Member Job Description, Bylaws, and Committee and Member Application. If you have the interest and the time to attend meetings, we’d welcome you completing and submitting an application to be appointed to the Committee.
STIF Plan Development
Columbia County Rider’s STIF Plan and Budget projects were selected from the County’s adopted plans listed below:
STIF Advisory Committee Meeting
On November 15, 2022, the County’s STIF Advisory Committee met to discuss proposed projects. Below is the Committee’s Agenda Packet:
STIF Advisory Committee Members individually ranked the proposed projects and submitted their rankings to Transit Staff, who calculated the average ranking for each project. The resulting prioritization is listed below:
The STIF Advisory Committee ranked providing match for FTA 5310 and 5311 Formula Grants as its highest priority, followed by supporting Dial-A-Ride services and maintaining and/or building Operating Contingencies. The Committee ranked exploring and implementing a Van Pool as it’s fourth highest priority, followed by exploring Micro-Transit and adding back one of the recently suspended afternoon Portland Commuter runs. Staff recommended the afternoon Portland Commuter run not be added back based on the budgetary rationale that led to its suspension, and because having on morning (to Portland) run but two afternoon (from Portland) runs offered little hope of significantly increasing ridership.
Board of Commissioners Adoption of the 2024-2025 STIF Plan
The Project Rankings recommended by the STIF Advisory Committee were presented to the Columbia County Board of Commissioners on 12/14/22. The Commissioners unanimously approved the proposed projects.
Estimating Low Income Households
Under statute, QE’s are required to identify the amount of STIF Formula funds that are allocated to improve services to areas with a high percentage of low-income households. Low income families are considered to be those below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. A STIF Plan must contain an explanation of how the plan defines and identifies communities with a high percentage of low income households, and indicate how projects improve transit service to these communities.
Census Tract Analysis
Columbia County defines low income households as follows:
1. “Areas of High Percentage of Low-Income Households” shall mean geographic areas within Columbia County that are determined to have a high percentage of low-income households. Pursuant to OAR 732-040-0035(2)(a), it shall be the responsibility of the Advisory Committee to gather data and to seek public input, and to make a determination as to the areas of Columbia County in which high percentages of low-income households exist, and to publish said determination in its Committee minutes and printed public materials.
Utilizing the guidance provided by ODOT, Columbia County has used the 2020 US Census data methodology to determine the percentage of low-income households.
Using the above Method, the County has determined there are 13,838 Individuals below the 200% poverty level. With 2.6 persons per household on average in Columbia County, there are approximately 5,322 Households below the 200% poverty level, which represents 26.6% of all households in the county.