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Metro votes against maintaining 75/25 funding split for Active Transportation

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 11th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

"... In a deep recession, people who are struggling — in addition to buses and bike paths — also need access to a job."
— Ann Lininger, Clackamas County Commissioner

A 17-member Metro committee made up of mayors, commissioners, and transportation agency leaders around the region voted this morning to do away with a 75/25 federal funding allocation split that was hailed by active transportation advocates when it was established in 2010. At their meeting, Metro's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) voted instead to adopt a new policy direction that will have projects of all types — including massive highway expansion projects — competing against each other.

At issue is how best to dole out an additional $38 million ($37.78 to be exact) that is unspoken for out of a $147 million pot of federal grant funds administered through the federal Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) for the years 2016-18. (Note: Of this $147 million, JPACT has already decided to allocate: $48 million to transit bond payments, $26 million to Metro planning and regional programs, $26 million to "Active Transportation and Complete Streets" projects and $8.7 million to "Green Economy and Freight" projects).

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), backed by Mayor Sam Adams and a host of local environmental and social justice organizations, had waged a campaign to maintain the 75/25 split (known as Option 1) with this remaining $38 million; but that option didn't muster much support at all around the JPACT table. The option favored by most of the JPACT membership going into this morning is known as Option 3, which would establish a set of new policies for handing out the funds. This new policy would focus on "Regional Economic Opportunity" and would bring in a new set of criteria that includes things like access to industrial lands, private sector investment interest, safety, and so on.

In citizen testimony prior to committee discussion, founding member of the Latino Network and Portland State University instructor Cynthia Gomez said she supported Option 1's strong equity and environmental justice provisions: "Our community seeks transportation and environmental justice," she said, "Show us you are part of our community, that you represent our interests." Gomez also urged Metro to review their public participation process so that, "all voices are heard."

Community activist, Occupy Portland participant, and former hunger striker Cameron Whitten also testified. He said that supporting Option 1 and making more investments in bicycling and walking, "make our community more versatile and resilient." (He also noted to me prior to his testimony that he was the only black person in the entire room.)

ODOT Region 1 Director Jason Tell speaking
to BTA's Gerik Kransky after the meeting.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Once official committee discussion got underway, ODOT Region 1 Director Jason Tell was first to speak. Tell put forth his proposal (a version of Option 3) to earmark three projects to the tune of $27 million. Tell wants $9 million each for three major highway expansion projects that are already far along in the planning stages: the Sunrise Corridor (total cost $1.5 billion), the Brookwood/Helvetia Interchange project (total cost $45 million), and the Troutdale Interchange project (total cost $30 million). As for the remaining $11 million, Tell said it could go toward a 75/25 split (in favor of Active Transportation project), but that he "would be open" to where it goes.

Tell argued that Metro and the region have a responsibility to fund those three projects because they've already gone through a federal vetting process (they were selected by JPACT as TIGER stimulus grant applicants). "The goal was that these three projects," Tell said this morning, "were to be funded with new money... Now, new money has shown up... So we have to make a decision… We have made these projects priorities... Let's go ahead and get these built."

(Chart: Metro)

Portland Mayor Sam Adams didn't like that Tell had brought a pre-selected list of projects to the table. "How is your proposal," he asked Tell, "not cherry-picking projects?" Adams continued: "There's always a good debate and discussion around this table, but to just say that TIGER is it and we're going to fund TIGER and we're not going to go through the normal process and we're going to earmark those projects... That makes us like a lot of the regions around the country that are not as thoughtful in their approach as we are."

In a somewhat terse exchange that followed, Adams maintained that ODOT's projects need to go through the Metro process, and that the federal (TIGER) process isn't adequate. "It strikes me as earmarking... How is this not earmarking?"

TriMet GM Neil McFarlane called Tell's insistence on earmarking projects a "slippery slope". McFarlane also accused JPACT of not doing enough to fund projects that improve safety for the "most vulnerable users of our system". "I honestly don't think the recommendations in front of us put our money where our mouth is in terms of safety, particularly for bicyclists and those trying to access our transit system."

As discussion continued, it was clear that Option 3 would win the day. Clackamas County Commissioner Ann Lininger said the region is still "struggling to come out of a deep recession" and that, while she believes in "conservation values" and "environmental justice values." "But you know you," she continued, "people who are struggling — in addition to buses and bike paths — also need access to a job."

Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers said voting for Option 3 is a matter of "regional equity". While he said his county "isn't against bike and ped" his primary mission is job creation. Rogers warned JPACT members of voter outcry if they were seen to be voting against jobs. "We have to bring jobs... If you want to tell your constituents that we just turned away jobs [he estimates the three ODOT projects will bring a total of 2,500 jobs to the region], it will be interesting to talk about in campaigns."

Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder also criticized ODOT's attempt to earmark projects, but he added that he's in support of Option 3 because it "opens doors to things I'm interested in."

At this point — with even Mayor Adams not fighting for Option 1 — it was clear that Option 3 would win the day.

As for ODOT representative Tell, he realized his project earmarks were unpopular, so he agreed to give up on them. But his urgency around the Sunrise project wasn't clear. He urged the committee to "expedite" their work so that he could have "some level of confidence" that he'd get funding. At one point, seemingly annoyed by Tell's incessant cheerleading for his project, JPACT Chair Carlotta Collette stepped in said, "Jason, I don't think this is an opportunity to write you a check."

In the end, JPACT adopted a motion to move forward with Option 3 without any specific projects named and with a more fleshed-out set of criteria and with a commitment to "expedite" a vote of confidence in the Sunrise project.

After the meeting, the BTA's lead advocacy staffer Gerik Kransky said he "Wasn't surprised" at the outcome. He said he's concerned that the committee committed to an "expedited process" for ODOT's projects because he fears that could mean they scuttle key equity and environmental justice review processes. He's also generally perturbed by what he referred to as ODOT getting "Sweetheart deals for pet projects."

——

Now the work begins.

JPACT will start a process to select projects that will compete for the $38 million. If Option 1 would have passed, active transportation projects would have been guaranteed $28.5 million. Now they are assured nothing (out of this $38 million pot). This decision follows similar trends in both federal and state funding policy, which is to do away with dedicated bicycle-specific pots of funding and instead open-up the process to finding which projects align most successfully with our shared values (at least that's the idea).

For the first time since I can remember, bicycle-oriented projects will get the chance to go toe-to-toe with major highway expansion projects. How will they compete? A lot of that depends on what criteria are used to judge the projects. Will safety of vulnerable road users get as much weight as access to industrial lands? Can a project that includes "Diamond" quality bike access also make a strong case for jobs?

So far, JPACT members seem to assume that projects with a strong bike access component are only for urban areas and cannot make a strong jobs and economic development case. That is far from the truth. Perhaps through this process we'll be able to explode those myths and come up with some great projects.

Stay tuned.

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  • davemess October 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Is that the same Roy Rogers who that fancy new street way out of Beaverton off of Scholl's Ferry is named for?

    I love how EVERYTHING gets rerouted to being about jobs.

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    • Andrew Seger October 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Right? When did we start naming roads after politicians who are still in office? At least have the decency to retire first. I tell people who ask it's named after the cowboy.

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      • davemess October 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

        That was my guess when I lived out that way. I mean who names their kid Roy Rogers?

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      • CaptainKarma October 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        In more civilized times, one had to actually die before getting pandered to, er, I mean naming honorariums.

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      • wsbob October 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        Roy Rodgers, his gal Dale Evans and of course, his faithul ol' steed Trigger, kind of strikes the funny bone, alright. I've never happened across the family history of the local 'Roy Rodgers', but the road out in Washington County carried that name when it was a quiet country road, long before it became a big, ugly suburban home to job commute road. I'd venture a guess that the Rodgers family is a pioneer Tualitan Valley family, but I'm not sure.

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        • Dave Thomson October 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

          That road was NOT named Roy Rogers when it was a quiet country road. The north half of Roy Rogers Rd used to be Beef Bend Rd, and the south half was Eisner Rd. Roy Rogers road was created and named in 2000 when WashCo widened that section and connected it directly to the southern end of Eisner Rd at the Tualatin River. There was a big stink at the time with the naming; many people in that area had "No Roy Rogers" signs in their yards. I've always wondered if the name was what it took to get Roy Rogers the county commissioner to vote for the project.

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          • wsbob October 12, 2012 at 1:18 am

            My maps show 'Elsner Rd', but it seems true that what's now Roy Rodgers, used to be Beef Bend and Elsner Rd, and also, Scholls Sherwood Rd as it goes to Six Corners. The dubious 'genius' of land use and road planning in the case of RRR, was to connect the straight sections of BBR and Elsner Rd, roads which used to do a twisty-turny route...creating the heavily traveled highway RRR is today. I'd like to hear exactly why connecting the two other named, pleasantly ambling roads into one straight one, came to be called Roy Rodgers Rd. By the old map I have, it appears land had to be secured to make the connection between BBR and Elsner.

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  • 9watts October 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Tell wants $9 million each for three major highway expansion projects.

    What is this, the sixties?

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    • davemess October 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      They're not even highway expansion projects. They're INTERCHANGE expansion projects.

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  • peejay October 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    When people look back at this time from the future, they will wonder how stupid humanity is sometimes. That's my optimistic outlook. A more realistic one might be: there'll be nobody left to look back.

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    • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Sheesh, peejay. Can you observe the irony in your own statement? I'd be the pot calling the kettle black, yo, but I think it's important to remember that those opposing your viewpoint aren't necessarily stupid. Also, in hindsight, many of the actions of this particular camp might just be viewed as regressive, narrow minded, and short-sighted.

      It seems clear to me that Mr. Maus has worked especially hard on this piece. Moreover, it's an extremely important issue. And the first three-quarters of this comment thread are filled with people ridiculing a fellow human over their surname. Sorry J.

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  • Matt October 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Great reporting Jonathan! Thanks for keeping us informed.

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  • Andrew K October 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    What a bunch of short sighted fools.

    I am so sick of tired of the argument always being about having just one or the other. We can have “green” projects OR we can have jobs. We can have bike lanes OR we can have jobs. We can have walk-able streets OR we can have jobs.

    Why does the “OR” part need to be there? Don’t they realize that all of the things I listed above create jobs? Don’t they realize that when people ride bikes they have A LOT more money to spend (i.e. creating jobs) in the community? When you have a neighborhood that is livable, peaceful, and efficient jobs will come! When you create a neighborhood that is desirable property values go up and business is enticed to serve that neighborhood. Why do our leaders keep making decisions based on a false choice?

    It’s really not that hard to grasp.

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    • 9watts October 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      I'd go one further.
      Pretending that this all doesn't concern us, that we can just keep on truckin' into the indefinite future, is going to mean lots and lots of people will be OUT OF JOBS. The jobs that some folks have gotten used to (asphalt, concrete, oil, construction, trucking, bridge building, moving big things around all the time) aren't the sure thing they long seemed.

      Maybe, just maybe, the jobs of the future aren't there but are somewhere else, like maybe cargo bikes, human powered solutions to stuff, making things locally, etc.

      Too bad ODOT (at least in this case) doesn't seem to have much of a vision of the future except what they see in the rearview mirror.

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    • was carless October 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      No, I don't think that they are that smart.

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    • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Andrew K - "Livable", "peaceful", etc., are completely subjective terms. Just the kind of thing that practically prohibits me from taking you seriously. For instance, "liveable", to me means closing the southern Oregon border with California to any more Californians. And I'd bet that idea of, "liveable", doesn't match up with your own, right? I feel like I could be more, "peaceful", if I didn't have a bunch of people sticking their nose in my business. And so on...

      Look, the artificially inflated retail cost of gasoline at the pump is crushing our economy. You can view economic status throughout this nation and the average cost of gasoline and diesel are directly proportional to the health and vigor of national economies on a state level. Just wait, transportation stake-holders (You know, Republicans to the last...) have taken advantage of the green movement in order to wipe out independent trucking in this country. The ENTIRE raise in diesel fuel costs have been absorbed solely by independent truckers. Every one of them went from paying five hundred bucks a week on fuel, to paying twenty-five hundred bucks a week in fuel; and in less than one calendar year.

      It's working beautifully too. And the second transportation stakeholders bury the career of the last independent trucker in America, bam, the retail price index skyrockets. THEN you and your ilk will FINALLY suffer the consequences of your regressive viewpoints.

      How about $22.00 for 8 oz. of Tofu? Is that what it's going to take to open YOUR eyes?

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      • 007 October 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

        "the artificially inflated retail cost of gasoline at the pump is crushing our economy." Are you serious? Don't you mean artificially deflated cost? I can't wait for the day when we have to pay the true "economic" cost of gasoline & diesel. However, that will never include the environmental cost. $10/gal should force some people into the 21st C.

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        • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

          007 - Yeah. Turns out all the propaganda about subsidized this, and subsidized that, has warped ya'lls understanding of the word. Private sector companies have historically suppressed the cost of gasoline to incentivize the private sector finance of roads. No subsidies. It also incentivizes local governments to do the same thing, for the same reasons. A subsidy is where a government pays for extra production in times of low sales so as not to decrease potential production outcomes when sales are high. Now, profiteers have co-opted the Green Church into building public support to move retail gasoline prices the other direction. For purposes of raping the American public financially.

          Gasoline subsidies are simply religious dogma that has proven about as true as the notion that we all descended from a dirt-man, and a bone-woman.

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          • 9watts October 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

            "Look, the artificially inflated retail cost of gasoline at the pump is crushing our economy."

            Right, which is why Germany with roughly 6x the gasoline taxes we have seen fit to institute is doing so poorly these days....
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fuel_tax_in_OECD_countries,_2010..png

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            • Vance Longwell October 13, 2012 at 8:28 am

              9watts - Huhn...? Before the dust-up over Greece's economic near-collapse, wasn't the big daily news out of the EU for months that Germany's economy just collapsed on itself? Like, if it weren't for the EU, they'd all be living in cardboard boxes right now? What's with the apples and oranges thing, anyway? Germany is some classist puss-hole in the middle of nowhere, and about the size of Oregon with almost exactly 11x the human population. Not to mention disparity between gasoline production rates, and highway infrastructure.

              I simply can't see the analogy, here.

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              • 9watts October 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

                In a word, no.
                You should visit there sometime. The quality of Germany's infrastructure would blow your mind. They put their tax money to work for things that people appreciate: healthcare, education, infrastructure, energy policy. Now you might not like all that, but the Germans sure do.

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    • 007 October 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

      "Jobs" is always the excuse to do the wrong thing.

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  • Rol October 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    How is a bike facility not "access to a job?"

    And, how does ANY project "bring jobs" that aren't purely temporary? Once it's built, everyone goes home!

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    • 9watts October 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Obviously Ms. Lininger and her peers all drive to work, which is too bad, and perhaps one of the opportunities. We need to introduce these politicians to folks who don't rely so heavily on cars - or at all.

      Remember when no one (thought they) knew any gay people? I think it is a little bit like that. Easier to get vindictive anti-gay ballot measures on the ballot much less pass them when your public doesn't think they know anyone who might be adversely affected.

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    • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Rol, have you ever tried to roof a house with a bicycle? Have you ever tried to tow a semi with a bicycle? Have you tried to adhere to a, "formal professional attire", type dress code on a bike? What about blacks? I don't see any of them in your church. In fact, for the most part, I see those folks driving giant gas-hogs. Are you a racist? What about physically handicapped people? See many Quads' on bikes, do ya? What, they don't get to work, because they can't get there on a bicycle, or even the bus? Notice too, the Mexicans don't seem to be at-all down with you folks.

      Slow incremental change please. That is, if you simply must involve yourselves in other people's affairs. You're poking at a house of cards here, and just don't seem to see it. I firmly believe you all feel like you are fighting some giant, indestructible force of eee vill. You're not. You're messing with a nearly century old paradigm, and if you're not careful, we'll all be living in grass huts, and dining on our neighbors again.

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      • 9watts October 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

        "Rol, have you ever tried to roof a house with a bicycle?"

        Not Rol, but yes. What is your point?

        "Have you ever tried to tow a semi with a bicycle?

        Huh?

        Have you tried to adhere to a, "formal professional attire", type dress code on a bike?

        If that is what it boils down to I think we'll be fine.

        "Slow incremental change please."

        Wouldn't that be nice if we could choose the pace of change. Hey Climate, wait up, yo! We're not ready yet! I think we might have had to start about a generation ago if we hoped to get away with that.

        "You're messing with a nearly century old paradigm"

        No argument there. But what is your point?

        "we'll all be living in grass huts, and dining on our neighbors again."

        Sort of funny, but a century ago we were doing neither here in the PNW.

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        • Vance Longwell October 13, 2012 at 8:39 am

          9watts - Yeah, but, but...*sigh* My point is that regressive transportation policy is damaging the economy, and therefore the standard of living, in my hometown. I say it's regressive because bicycles were outmoded by the automobile. Take-away this silly churchie nonsense that the sky is falling, and there's nothing left that even threatens the automobile's status as a vastly superior mode of personal transportation, than is a bicycle. Given that there are a multitude of things that a bicycle cannot do, probably part of why it was outmoded, there will remain, at the very least, a commercial need to accommodate autos on public highways. By expending so much, and many, public resources servicing a very vocal minority the things which actually drive an economy are being neglected.

          Please remember that I have spent 30 years here with a bicycle as my sole means of transpo. I'm not your enemy. Only Mr. Maus'.

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          • 9watts October 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

            "regressive transportation policy is damaging the economy, and therefore the standard of living, in my hometown."

            I guess that is one instance where we differ since I have to assume that by regressive you mean a paltry sum is now nominally spent on bike infrastructure that is very nearly all defensive (to minimize the dangers autos pose to those not in them) rather than anything those on bikes would need on their own in the absence of the overwhelming presence of cars and trucks.

            As for who is or isn't my enemy, I don't think in those categories.

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    • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Rol - You can't be serious?? A job digging a pit in the road, filling it with invasive, non-indigenous species of flora, for purposes of concentrating toxic waste from the immediate environment, is a temporary benefit because it does nothing else. The work needed to do it provided temporary employment. Frequent criticism from those opposed to the continued use of public funds to build religious altars on public property.

      On the other hand, a highway expansion provides the same temporary jobs, but facilitates the movement of goods and labor to market for a long time to come. Something most so-called green jobs have yet to do. When opponents of the Church of Green talk about jobs, they're talking a net increase in jobs based upon improvements to the infrastructure.

      A while back, in an attempt to obfuscate the truth, the Green Church started touting the benefits of temporary green jobs as the same thing as the benefit of long term job gains incentivized by improved infrastructure. Since then, some brain donors like to use those net gains interchangeably whenever it suits their purpose, or when it's especially profitable for the industry they make their money from.

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  • Allan October 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    FYI-
    This is money for 2016-18 so many of the projects applying for these funds haven't made it out of the idea stage.

    They are designing the criteria for projects now so that as people apply for grants they will be able to make things match. These changes don't have to be bad for bikes, they just aren't guaranteed to be good. If cycling is as great as we all think it is then the projects we want should compete well against these criteria.

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    • 9watts October 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      "If cycling is as great as we all think it is then the projects we want should compete well against these criteria."

      That is only automatically true if those voting on or weighing these projects against each other come at it with an open mind, willing and able to see the merits for the larger community of biking vs some other outdated mode of getting around. We're not there yet, and until we're there the best project is unlikely to win simply because the playing field is not even a playing field but a smoke filled room where our team is poorly represented, apparently. And those who are at the table think spending money on bike infrastructure is frivolous because they themselves only ride out in the country on weekends if at all.

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    • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

      Allan, for all my whiny-ness, I shore do 'perciate your comment. Your pragmatism fairly embarasses me. Excellent point. Just excellent.

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  • Elliot October 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Jonathan, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm trying to figure out exactly what Option 3 means.

    Option 3 was essentially to hit the reset button, and come up with a new formula for evaluating project funding, correct? And rather than have money set aside in two different pots based on mode (like the previous 75/25 split), all projects will compete head to head for all the money, based on a set of criteria focused on "Regional Economic Opportunity".

    You list some example criteria ("like access to industrial lands, private sector investment interest, safety, and so on") but this makes it sound like maybe the list of criteria wasn't completely set. Did JPACT also decide to flesh out these funding decision-making criteria more at a later date?

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  • Elliot October 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Also, this Metro news article titled "JPACT sticks with funding formula for additional $38 million in transportation funds" seems to imply that a portion of funding will continue to use the 75/25 split, and another pot will be open to full competition based on "Regional Economic Oppportunity". And the BTA blog referenced a pot of $98 million. Sorry if everyone else gets it and I don't but now I'm really confused.

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    • Elliot October 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Okay, okay. I reread the second paragraph. Each article I've read has talking about differently sized sub-pots... somehow I missed that a good chunk got set aside for this 75%/25% split (the ratio of already allocated $26M to active transportation and $8.7M to freight).

      So, essentially, we're part way to protecting the previous 75%/25% allocation, but if we lose out on winning "Regional Economic Opportunity" funding for bike/ped projects, we're stuck with just $26M of $148M in regional flexible funding through 2018, equivalent to a paltry 18%.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        right. I think you have it now. it's confusing. Basically, Option 3 opens up this undedicated remaining $37.78 million up for a competitive grant process. JPACT has already agreed to honor the 75/25 allocation from 2010 which was for the 2014-15 timeframe. And the rest of the $147 has also been dedicated to other stuff. I'm not quite clear why the BTA wanted to use the $98 million figure.

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        • Elliot October 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

          Thanks Jonathan.

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  • Nathan Jones October 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Another great article from Bike Portland but occupy and bike swarm HAVE NO LEADERS, some may be more active than others but there are no leaders. Sorry but this is the second time I've seen people being called leaders here and this is a leaderless movement.

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  • Spiffy October 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    since sudies show that "Regional Economic Opportunity" is best stimulated with bicycling projects I look forward to their new focus on bicycles...

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    • Chris I October 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      They will likely use existing LOS (Level of Service) federal and state guidelines, which are biased to favor transportation options that move people more quickly, while ignoring all other factors.

      Freeways for everyone!

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      • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 9:28 am

        Chris I, I wonder if any of these other non-factors are a byproduct of the dynamics inherently produced by a democracy? I mean, the majority of people here seem to want to drive their cars. As such, a majority of resources should be spent servicing us. I wonder how much, "...speed of movement..." factors in, and how much is actually just democracy doing its thing. There are only winners, and losers in a democracy. Ideally, the losers won't get bitter, and the winners won't abuse their majority. Ideally.

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        • 9watts October 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

          "...the majority of people here seem to want to drive their cars. As such, a majority of resources should be spent servicing us."

          Neither our economic system nor our political system are able to incorporate the notion of limits, work with that concept. You don't seem to understand or recognize the possibility of absolute limits either.
          What the majority wants isn't all that important once something they/we want runs out or is no longer available. The majority of residents in Joplin, MO wanted houses and cars and schools, and had them, until they didn't.

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          • Vance Longwell October 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm

            Agreed, but you presume too much. I don't believe for a second that fossil fuels are in short supply. Just as easily drink the oceans dry. I also don't believe for a second that automobile emissions are causing anything but localized problems, certainly nothing on the scale the Church of Green seems to wish I would believe. Moreover, unless folks are instantly dropping dead from some behavior of mine, then they ought close their mouths, and mind their own business. It's called, "freedom".

            We set limits, and I guess we need some. For important things, like life and death. What my problem with this crowd is, is this stuff isn't life and death, and they're simply trying to force their values, and ideals, off on people. Just like the Catholics did to, well, just about everybody, now. This conflict has never been about protecting the environment. It's about control, and money.

            Where do you think BikePortland.org would be if we just banned bicycles from the roads altogether? Yeah, huh?

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            • 9watts October 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

              Remember Pascal's Wager?

              You believe what you want, but given the possibility that your belief in the continued/indefinite abundance of oil and atmosphere and freedom will turn out wrong, the risks you incur by acting on those beliefs are far greater.

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              • 9watts October 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

                Check out Michael Klare's The Race for What's Left.
                You might find it interesting.

                Which brings us back to the topic at hand: the split in funding for fossil fuel only projects or for more adaptable kinds of infrastructure.

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              • Vance Longwell October 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

                Ugh, no I don't remember Pascal's Wager, I was expelled permanently from Oregon schools by the time I was in high school, and missed a bunch educationally speaking. My apologies. I am addressing this by being a current college student. Bear with me.

                I can't disagree with Mr. Pascal, and I grew up sandwiched between the two largest alpine rainforests on the face of the planet. Real Oregonians drank conservation in their mother's milk. Remember the location of the first city in the United States to adopt municipal recycling programs? Yeah, you live there. I just don't agree that an arbitrary philosophic approach to infrastructure planning is the most practical solution. As it stands, an entire layer of the Earth's crust is oil, or oil producing ore. I'm not going to source, so take this with a grain of salt, but many scientists theorize that there are two more layers like this, before hitting the granite mantle. Plenty of gas, my man, plenty. Be glad too, 'cause you aren't riding around on tires made out of tofu.

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        • 007 October 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm

          Portland does things differently, that's why people want to move here. That's why tourists visit Portland, not Vancouver, Clackamas County, Washington County, Gresham, Troutdale, etc. Sorry, we're not lemmings.

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  • Lenny Anderson October 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    The primary obstacle to moving freight in the peak hours is folks driving alone to their jobs. Any project that improves job access via bike or transit increases transportation options for those drive alone commuters. Help two people make the change to biking or transit, and you just created room on the existing roads for one semi tractor-trailer. Sooner or later regional pols will learn this lesson that we have taken to heart on Swan Island where one in four employees does not drive alone.
    Freeing up roadway space for freight and reducing the demand for free parking on valuable industrial land is our ticket to job expansion. Building more roads gets you nothing, but more of the same.

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    • ScottB October 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      But until then, they'll keep trying to add lanes for autos - a losing game.

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  • GlowBoy October 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    " ... the Sunrise Corridor (total cost $1.5 billion) ... "

    OK, so how is this the first time I've heard about this? The $4 billion CRC boondoggle gets mega-attention (justifiably) -- no doubt in part because it includes significant mass transit and active transportation components.

    Now here we have a NEW FREEWAY being planned in the metro area (only a couple miles long), costing nearly half as much as the CRC, and twice as much as the MAX Orange Line (to Milwaukie) which is located in the same county and has generated a firestorm of controversy. Let's get some healthy public debate going on about the Sunrise Corridor!

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Hey GlowBoy,

      For more background info and discussion, read my story on the Sunrise Corridor Project from back in January 2011.

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    • was carless October 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      But people will be driving cars on it, so it isnt a waste of money. See? See how easy that was to say?

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    • DE October 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Note that the Oregon portion of the CRC is 50%. The Oregon portion of the Sunrise Corridor highway expansion is 100%, so from the perspective of OR budget impact, it's easily comparable.

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    • Chris I October 12, 2012 at 7:07 am

      Clackamas County residents only believe in public votes on billion dollar projects if they involve steel wheels and steel rails.

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  • Jim Lee October 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Same Roy Rodgers," kemo sabe!

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  • resopmok October 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I think that was a misquote at the top of the page. It should read "In a deep recession, those who are struggling need access to buses and bike paths so they can get to and from their jobs."

    I mean seriously, what is a paltry $38 million going to accomplish for non-active transport in a day when traffic signals alone cost $1 million each? Politicians are getting so greedy now they sweep the crumbs off the floor and serve them back to their patrons!

    How about we identify the 38 most dangerous crosswalks in the city and install a signal at each one so that the struggling don't get hit while job hunting? Somebody needs to slap a bit of reality into whoever is on this Metro commission.

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  • Pete October 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    "bicycle-oriented projects will get the chance to go toe-to-toe with major highway expansion projects. How will they compete?"

    "Rogers warned JPACT members of voter outcry if they were seen to be voting against jobs."

    I think you have your answer. The process seems not unlike how we voted for class president back in high school: perception.

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  • Tourbiker October 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Should be interesting,... when the USA manages to effectively create
    a self inflicted oil embargo on itself with only the 1% able to buy gas.
    I've been saying for years...learn from Cuba.

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  • 007 October 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Multnomah County should pull out of Metro. Or, simply abolish it.

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  • Ted Buehler October 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    So, uh, it's nice to get those Sharrows on the Oregon City Bridge, but when they cut bike infrastructure funding so they can go around dropping $45 million apiece into a bunch of suburban freeway ramp reconfigurations, I have trouble seeing how the region is actually going to reinvent its transportation system in favor of bikes...

    Ted Buehler

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