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Special coverage of the 2007 Legislative Session

You can also read about the BTA’s legislative efforts on their website.


BTA and environmental groups line up against bill that could boost bus service 42%

Posted on February 10th, 2016 at 2:08 pm.

First snow day of 2014-1
The proposed tax hike would be enough to upgrade
20 bus lines to frequent service.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A coalition of transportation and environmental groups is opposing a payroll tax that would create a massive boost to TriMet bus service.

As reported Wednesday by The Oregonian, they’re doing so because the tax would fall flatly on both rich and poor workers, like TriMet’s existing payroll tax does.

The main differences: unlike TriMet’s employer-side payroll tax of 0.7337 percent, which is invisible to employees, this tax of 0.185 percent would appear on paychecks alongside Social Security and Medicare; and the revenue could be spent only on bus service, unlike other payroll taxes that have been earmarked for new rail service, bus service or construction projects.

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‘Negligence gap’ bill passes committee 4-1, now heads for Senate vote

Posted on February 10th, 2016 at 1:37 pm.

prozanski
Senator Floyd Prozanski ferried
the bill through committee.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 to pass a bill that would revise existing law and create a new crime for negligent motor vehicle operators.

As we reported yesterday, Senate Bill 1553 would add one sentence to the list of behaviors that could result in someone charged with violating ORS 163.165. The sentence reads, “[A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if the person:] With criminal negligence causes serious physical injury to another who is a vulnerable user of a public way by means of a motor vehicle.”

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office is pushing for this new law out of frustration over cases where someone causes serious physical injury due to their negligent driving and is able to walk away with only a traffic ticket. The new crime would come with a felony charge punishable by a maximum of 11 months in jail for the most egregious cases. The DA’s office say they anticipate most of the cases will result in probation and a restitution payment plan to the victim overseen by a parole officer. In total the law is estimated to be triggered in about 15-16 annual cases statewide.

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Lawmakers hear testimony on bill that would fill driving’s “negligence gap”

Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 11:20 am.

corkett-salem
Julia Corkett’s son had his leg severed by a man who
made a dangerous left turn. She testified about it
in Salem yesterday.

A man’s decision to make a dangerous left turn in front of Alistair Corkett back in May led to a horrific outcome. The 22 year-old’s leg was severed from his body. Barry Allen, the man who was at fault for Corkett’s life-changing injury, was only given a traffic ticket.

If Corkett had died in the collision, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office would have pursued criminal charges which would not only have provided some level of justice for the community but would have allowed Corkett’s family to seek restitution from the state. However, because Corkett “only” suffered an injury, the DA did not pursue criminal charges.

Back in October at a BikePortland event that was inspired by Corkett’s case, Multnomah County DA Rod Underhill did not mince words when expressing his frustration. “It pissed me off. I’m angry. It just doesn’t seem right. We need to change the law.”

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Rep. Blumenauer unveils ‘Bikeshare Transit Act’ to provide funding certainty

Posted on January 7th, 2016 at 1:30 pm.

Blumenauer at the Summit-2
It’s transit, so let’s fund it as
such says Blumenauer.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not wanting to be left out of massive bike news in his hometown, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has just released details on his latest legislative idea: the Bikeshare Transit Act. The legislation is meant to provide stability and “additional flexibility to use federal funds for bikeshare programs.”

Blumenauer wants to make it easier for bike share systems to operate past their initial start-up funding. In Portland’s case, we received a $2 million federal grant for bike share back in 2011. But that money was only enough to start planning. To actually put a system on the ground would take millions more — not to mention an annual operating and maintenance budget of $1.5 to $2 million. With cities under pressure to not spend any local money on bike share, that means they’ve had to hope and pray for big private sponsors. Portland spent years trying to court a suitor before inking their $10 million deal with Nike.

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Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

Posted on November 19th, 2015 at 11:55 am.

ODOT Director Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.

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City engaged in battle against speeding epidemic

Posted on June 12th, 2015 at 11:59 am.

N Willamette Blvd bike lanes-6
PBOT has asked the state for a trial of new speed limit zones they say would reduce collisions.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Of all the ingredients that make up a dangerous roadway environment, most pundits and policymakers agree that speeding is one of the biggest threats. At a meeting of transportation advocates hosted by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick earlier this month, the scourge of speed was a constant thread through the discussion.

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Oregon House Rep gives up on mandatory reflective clothing bill

Posted on March 26th, 2015 at 12:16 pm.

davis2
Rep. John Davis.

Oregon House Representative John Davis has changed his mind about how best to improve the safety of bicycling.

Davis made headlines around the state last month when he introduced H.B. 3255, a bill that would require all Oregonians who ride a bicycle at night to wear refelctive clothing. Davis’ clothing mandate garnered considerable media attention and resulted in an “action alert” from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance who urged their members to help stop the bill.

A hearing for the bill was scheduled for March 30th in Salem.

Now he says he’s changing course and the bill will no longer include any language about reflective clothing.

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Oregon lawmaker wants to punish people who bike without reflective clothing – UPDATED

Posted on February 27th, 2015 at 12:11 pm.

davis2
Rep. John Davis.

*Scroll down for update with comments from Rep. Davis.*

A member of the Oregon House has introduced a bill that would require all bicycle riders in Oregon to wear reflective clothing. Representative John Davis (R-District 26) introduced House Bill 3255 this morning.

According to the text of the bill, Davis wants anyone caught riding a bicycle, “on a highway or on premises open to the public” without wearing reflective clothing to be punished by a maximum fine of $250. The bill also dictates that the clothing is, “including but not limited to a reflective coat or reflective vest.” The new law would only apply to people riding bicycles at night (between sunset and sunrise).

The new offense, “Failure of a bicycle operator to wear reflective clothing,” would be a Class D traffic violation.

Similar bills have been introduced in California, Wyoming and South Dakota. In California, Senate Bill 192 mandates helmets for all ages and reflective clothing, but carries a maximum fine of just $25.

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Salem Watch: School transportation bill could impact biking/walking

Posted on April 6th, 2011 at 2:57 pm.

A bill introduced in Salem this morning, HB 3622 (PDF), is being watched by biking and walking advocates for its possible impact on school transportation funding.

Authored by Rep. Betty Komp of Woodburn, the bill seeks to revise the method of calculating transportation block grants from the State School Fund distributions by allowing “district school [boards] to determine distances for which school [districts] will provide transportation. […] Allows Superintendent of Public Instruction to impose sanctions on school district for failure to maintain safe school buses and school activity vehicles.”

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$25 million for bike boulevards: Highlights from Portland’s federal lobbying agenda

Posted on January 25th, 2011 at 1:49 pm.

High Crash Corridors campaign launch-3
One of their priorities is a $1.3 million
request to make SE Foster Road safer
for all modes.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Today, Portland Mayor Sam Adams published the City’s list of federal legislative priorities. Among them are several transportation projects that include bike-related infrastructure.

[As an aside, we are pleased to note that Nils Tillstrom, a former staffer for U.S. Congressman David Wu, is now working for the City of Portland as federal legislative assistant. Tillstrom was our main contact on bicycle issues and met with Oregonians on Capitol Hill during the National Bike Summit.]

Here are some of the projects that City lobbyists will be pushing for in Washington D.C. this year…

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