Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 1st, 2010 at 3:20 pm
The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation submitted their proposed 2010-2011 budget to City Hall today and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance is not happy with it. Michelle Poyourow, advocacy director of the BTA and member of the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee, was the 13-member committee's sole no vote on the budget proposal.
"Our interest is for the City to make strategic transportation investments, not the ones we've made in the past which have resulted in the current problems we have. We want strategic investments for the future we are aiming for... Where people can be active, and not use fossil fuels."
Poyourow says she pushed members of the committee to consider her arguments. She also says committee members were given only 45 minutes to analyze the capital budget before being asked to vote on it.
"We need to be paving roads, but when we do that we need to bring them up to future standards."
-- Michelle Poyourow, BTA
At the core of Poyourow's concern is that PBOT's proposed capital budget spends too much on paving and street preservation at the expense of other projects. "It's a capital budget for the past... It includes a lot of road and bridge paving that's millions of investment in roads that doesn't turn them into infrastructure that restores our future -- it just restores them to smooth infastructure that serves our past."
Poyourouw said she understand the need to pave roads, but she wants the renovated roads to include non-motorized features whenever possible. "We need to be paving roads, but when we do that we need to bring them up to future standards."
While she voted no on the budget proposal, Poyourow said she feels her concerns were heard by PBOT officials. "This is the beginning of a discussion about strategic investments."
In their budget submitted today, PBOT includes $129 million in captial improvement projects spread across six categories: Neighborhood Livability ($9.6 million), Centers and Main Streets ($83 milllion), Freight and Industrial Area ($8.3 million), Local Street Development ($1.3 million), Preservation & Rehabilitation ($22.3 million), and Special Projects ($4.5 million).
PBOT also submitted their "Decision Packages" which reflect where they plan to trim 4% of their budget and how they want to spend their allocation from H.B. 2001, the new state law that will pump $14 million into PBOT's coffers.
Here's how PBOT is requesting to spend that $14 million
- $4 million for capital project matching funds;
- $2 million in "Smartmeter Debt Service"
- $3.4 for "Arterial Streets - Contract Paving"
- $1 million for "Pedestrian and Bike Safety" (from the Affordable Transportation Fund)
- $400,000 for "Pedestrian Safety Improvements"
- $640,000 for "Arterials with no Sidewalks"
- $230,000 for "Safer Routes to Schools"
- $500,000 for "Street Light Replacement"
- $1 million for "Deficient Bridges/Overpasses"
- $300,000 for "High Crash Corridor Program"
- $500,000 for "Signal Rehab/Optimization Program"
- $100,000 for "Trip Reduction Program"
From here, the budget goes to City Hall and it's up to the Mayor and Commissioners to reconcile these requests and come up with the final budget they will adopt in June. Stay tuned for more coverage of bikes in the budget. For previous coverage of this topic, check our "PBOT Budget" tag.
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