Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 27th, 2011 at 9:23 am
Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey is concerned that some measures being considered by our region to reach Oregon's climate change goals are too expensive and that it's time to ask "the bicycle community" to pony up to pay for some of them.
Willey's comments came during the Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) meeting on Wednesday where representatives from around the Portland region discussed Oregon's climate change policies, which call for a reduction in GHG emission levels to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and a 75% reduction by 2050.
"When we add three feet to each side of the road for a bicycle path we're adding a significant cost to the amount of the road... I don't see anything addressed in here as to what is the responsibility of the bike community to participate in that."
— Mayor Willey
Metro news reporter Nick Christensen covered the meeting. He said the discussion Wednesday focused on how cities would implement regulations and policies to reach those goals. "Anxiety about the new targets," he wrote, "was palpable."
Mayor Willey expressed concern that the new policies put too much burden on cities. "Let's do some modifications to this," he told the commitee, "so we can do something that's feasible to accomplish and not overly expensive."
Willey went on to express concerns with how cities would pay for implementation of new, transportation-related policies like improving transit, charging more for parking (and removing parking) in downtown Portland, and building more infrastructure that encourages bicycling.
Below is a transcript of his comments (emphasis mine):
"... We all aspire to have more bike lanes and certainly more bike and pedestrian streets; but who pays the cost of that? The cities do. The cities pick up 100% of the tab on that which is supplemented from gas tax revenues which are declining and from other sources that are also declining; and nothing, from actually, quite frankly, the bicycle group.
There's nothing in here that addresses, how do we get the bicycle community to start participating in that... And I know that's probably threat words but we all have to deal with that at some point in time. When we add three feet to each side of the road for a bicycle path we're adding a significant cost to the amount of the road and the cost to maintain that road, and I don't see anything addressed in here as to what is the responsibility of the bike community to participate in that.
It's just like the electric car people are not going to be paying gas tax and they're looking at taxing those folks a fee for that, for road participation. It's the same concept to me. And I'm a bicyclist, so, you know, we all gotta' help with this."
Listen to the audio clip below:
Willey also called proposals to limit and charge more for parking in downtown Portland "draconian."