First Advisor

Kenneth Dueker

Term of Graduation

Fall 1995

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Oregon Department of Transportation -- Appropriations and expenditures, Roads -- Oregon



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, ii, 66 pages)


Construction of highway projects is one of the most important and expensive state government functions. Highway construction projects bring revenue and jobs to the locales in which they are built, in addition to providing a better transportation infrastructure within or between communities, states or nations.

In the state of Oregon, its Department of Transportation (ODOT) publishes a document forecasting planned highway construction expenditures for the next six years. This document was called, until recently the six-year highway program; it is the Department's primary programming document for planned highway construction expenditures in the next six years, with updates every two years. More recently the document has been renamed the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

The purpose of this study was to examine the distribution of planned highway construction projects within the state of Oregon from 1978 to 1992 by analyzing five selected ODOT six-year programs. Planned highway project expenditures were analyzed statistically, by county, to explain patterns of expenditure by project location, work type, highway level of importance, and changes in these over time. To analyze the significance of proposed highway expenditures by county, the cost of highway projects was compared and statistically measured against county factors such as population, area, total state highway mileage, and vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Data was collected from ODOT, the Oregon Secretary of State and the Center for Population Research and Census. Analysis consisted of simple grouping and sorting by program year, work type, etc., bivariate linear regression, and multiple linear regression. These analyses were performed on individual project data, and project data aggregated to the county level, for each of the five selected ODOT programs.

The analyses determined that there was a positive correlation between relatively high programmed highway expenditures, large county populations (and population densities) and high total highway mileages per county in Oregon; in other words, the highway funds went where the people and state highways were. Furthermore, the analysis confirmed relative ranking hypotheses between highway expenditures work types, and the type of highway (LOI) the projects were to be performed on. These two secondary "ranking by type" hypotheses were: 1.) project work type, from most to least expensive: modernization, bridge, preservation, safety, and miscellaneous; 2.) LOI, from highest to least importance: interstate, statewide, regional, and statewide.

Observations on the trends of expenditures over time showed that 1.) modernization expenditures in Oregon increased from 1978 to 1988, then declined in 1992 when preservation projects increased; and that 2.) interstate highways in Oregon received the highest funding overall from 1978 to 1988, but that from 1986 onward, statewide highways received more and more funding, and by 1992 were receiving more funding than the interstates.


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