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Noted lawyer to form Bicycle Bill watchdog group

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 22nd, 2006 at 7:35 am

Lawyer Ray Thomas, of the Portland-based Swanson, Thomas and Coon law firm has announced a new initiative. He plans to form a legal team to scrutinize the Bicycle Bill to make sure that a "fair share" of state highway construction funds are going toward bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

The bill (ORS 366.514), which was championed and made into law by the late Don Stathos in 1971, says that:

"in any given fiscal year, the amounts expended to provide walkways and bikeways must be a minimum of 1% of the state highway fund received by the Department, a city or county."

Thomas wants to keep an eye on this 1%. I asked him why and he said:

"My motivation on the 1% is just to make it so we have a statewide group of bike activists who are watching for development projects and watching documents that are accessible to the public to make sure that bike/ped gets it fair share...I am hearing positive things about it from a number of quarters including the BTA and rural activists."

I've often wondered about this 1% myself so it's great to know that Ray Thomas is watching our backs.

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  • Ethan May 22, 2006 at 8:25 am

    I visit Sam Adams blog pretty frequently, and there has been a big discussion raging between those who feel that too much is being spent on bike infrastructure, since bikes "don't pay their way with fuel taxes" and those who feel that not enough is spent (and that bikers pay plenty through non-fuel taxes).

    It is thus interesting to ponder a watchdog group that will see if maybe a full "1 percent" of a segment of public works is being spent on bikes AND pedestrians. Anyway, glad to see Ray out there keeping feet tot he fire.

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  • Scott Bricker May 22, 2006 at 10:17 am

    The 1% spending is spent in a variety of places, much of it at the state and other parts at local jurisdictions. I appreciate Ray's effort and will be supportive if possible, I also know that ODOT does track this fund.

    As it goes, over 90% of the 1% is spent on pedestrian facilities. Imagine a new street being built, the sidewalk, curb, and gutter is much more expensive than adding width for a bike lane.

    None of the 1% can be used outside of Right-of-Way. However perhaps Ray can look into the legal definition of ROW, why is a bike path not ROW?

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  • [...] Perhaps lawyer Ray Thomas’ new watchdog group can find the money for these things in the Bicycle Bill which is supposed to give 1% of highway projects to bike infrastructure (how much did that strip of paint cost?). [...]

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