Mid-Columbia Economic Development District engages with and supports transportation needs in our five-county region in several ways.
MCEDD assists local governments with coordination and funding for transportation infrastructure projects. Through development of the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, MCEDD also works with regional partners to define transportation needs for economic development. Additionally, MCEDD convenes regional transportation partners through Connect Mid-Columbia to better inform and elevate regional transportation priorities in the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. This initiative first gathered in 2016 and now again in 2021. Connect Mid-Columbia’s goal is to provide a safe and efficient regional transportation system to enhance the livability and economic vitality of the Mid-Columbia region. Stakeholders include state departments of transportation; regional transportation partners; city, county and port officials; and representatives from private businesses. Participants prioritize strategies to meet the regional transportation goal; outline and discuss challenges and opportunities facing regional transportation; and continue to prioritize transportation needs that, when met, will have the greatest impact on the livability and economic vitality of the region. View the Connect Mid-Columbia 2021 initiative flyer.
Regional Mobility Management
A strong transportation network is necessary to serve the needs of a mobile workforce. Commuting habits in the Mid-Columbia by place of work show that workers in the Mid-Columbia region travel outside their state of residence to work to a greater extent than the average worker in Oregon, Washington, or the nation. Public transportation is necessary from both a human and social services standpoint and from an economic standpoint.
MCEDD provides a Regional Mobility Manager to focus on multi-modal transportation planning and coordination issues. The Mobility Manager staffs the Gorge TransLink Alliance, a broad partnership of regional public transportation providers, state agencies, and local stakeholders. The Mobility Manager assists with regional transit projects that include expansion of fixed route systems, technology coordination, travel training, marketing and education, and special outreach to underserved communities. The Mobility Manager also works with local and regional multi-modal transportation planning initiatives like the Gorge Regional Transit Strategy.
The Mobility Manager also works in partnership with the eastern Oregon-based nonprofit Commute Options to promote this tool in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties. This effective employee benefit tool helps large and small employers address employee commute issues and enhance job satisfaction. Read more about Commute Options here.
Wasco County Public Transportation
As a result of MCEDD’s many years of involvement in regional transportation coordination, MCEDD was chosen in 2018 to assume the operation of Wasco County’s public transportation provider, The Link Public Transit. MCEDD also supports Wasco County in serving as staff for Wasco County’s Public Transportation Advisory Committee and is lead coordinator for the Wasco County Transit Development Plan (TDP). Begun in June 2021, the TDP will develop a 20 year masterplan for the future of public transit in Wasco County.