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East Portland will receive $8 million for active transportation

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
BAC Bike Ride East Portland-9
Riding in east Portland
can only get better.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (and TriMet) is set to invest $8.2 million into sidewalks, neighborhood greenways and transit-safety related projects in East Portland. The funding comes from a $34 million "Regional Economic Opportunity Fund" created by a Metro committee last year.

In case you forgot, this $34 million is the result of a debate at Metro back in October about how best to spend federal "regional flexible funds." At the last go-round, advocates (including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) fought hard to win a 75/25 split for active transportation projects. Advocates hoped to use that same allocation method for an additional $34 million Metro is awarding this time around. However, the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) voted instead to create a new "Regional Economic Opportunity Fund" (explained further here). (more...)

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

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

"... 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). (more...)

BTA fights as Metro funding battle brews once again

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

"It is unacceptable to the BTA to consider overturning our current policy... The Port [of Portland]... wants this money for highway/road projects. Now is the time to say no."
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

A funding fight is brewing at Metro over how the regional planning agency should allocate nearly $38 million in federal funds. Unlike the vast majority of transportation funds fought over by various regional interest groups, these funds are "flexible," meaning they can be spent on nearly any type of project. With scarce dollars in play these days, the competition to snag them is intense.

The $37.78 on the table at Metro is a portion of $147 million in "regional flexible funds" they will dole out through the federal government's Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) for the years of 2016 - 2018.
(more...)

Blumenauer warns regional transpo leaders about lack of vision, strategy

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Blumenauer: Come together. Right now.
(Photo © J. Maus)

United States Congressman Earl Blumenauer spoke during a rare appearance at an influential Metro committee last week, doling out some tough love over the groups' inability to come together around a regional vision for transportation investments. It was a rare showing of straight talk that speaks to a larger issue facing metro Portland's elected officials and transportation leaders:

To achieve a new vision of transportation it will take big and bold projects that the entire region supports... But what projects fit that bill? And are regional leaders capable of agreeing to a single priority over pet projects in their own backyards?

Metro's 17-member Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) is staffed by bigwigs like Portland Mayor Sam Adams, TriMet GM Neil McFarlane, and many other agency directors, Metro staffers, mayors, and commissioners from around the region. The group recently submitted five projects to the U.S. Department of Transportation's TIGER III grant program.
(more...)

Metro task force agrees to take "light rail model" in active transportation funding decisions

Friday, December 10th, 2010
max and bike (old shot from archives)
A Metro task force wants to emulate
success of light rail corridors in making
decisions about active transportation funding.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A Metro task force put together to decide how the agency's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) should spend $23 million in federal "flexible" funds, has agreed that the money set aside for active transportation projects — about three-fourths of it — should focus on just a few corridors at a time. The approach, similar to how TriMet has built out their light rail system, would be distinctly different than how our region has typically funded biking and walking projects.
(more...)

Metro unveils task force that will help recommend $24 million in projects

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Metro has unveiled the list of "regional experts" that will sit on a task force to make recommendations on how the agency should dole out about $24 million in federal transportation dollars.

Back in July, there was a heated debate at Metro's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation over how best to divide up those funds. The debate came after active transportation advocates lined up on one side and freight advocates lined up on the other. With both sides pulling at the committee, the vote was very close. (more...)

Metro's JPACT votes for 75/25 split in favor of active transportation

Thursday, July 8th, 2010
JPACT meeting-1
JPACT Chair Carlotta Collette at this
morning's meeting.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Metro's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) met this morning to set policy parameters on how to allocate $20-24 million in federal Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Plan dollars (MTIP) -- also known as Regional Flexible Funds. After some tense discussion, the committee split 7-6 in favor of a motion to target 75% of the funds for active transportation projects and 25% for freight projects (after that contentious amendment passed, the committee unanimously passed the full resolution).
(more...)

JPACT decision could decrease funding for active transportation

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
metro hearing on the CRC-10.jpg
Tomorrow's meeting will likely be
packed as the fate of $24
million hangs in the balance.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Active transportation advocates will be listening closely to Metro's 17-member Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) when they meet tomorrow morning. Based on proposals currently on the table, JPACT's vote on how to set parameters for doling out $20-24 million in federal funds is likely to result in less funding for biking, walking and trail projects.
(more...)

A new coalition emerges behind freight funding push

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

"A disproportionate share of... dollars available for transportation projects... are being allocated to... bicycle, pedestrian, and commuter infrastructure while critical freight-related projects go unfunded."
-- From a BEST coalition document

As I detailed on Wednesday, active transportation advocates are mobilizing to thwart an attempt by freight and business advocates to get a larger piece of an important infrastructure funding source.

This freight activism has raised eyebrows because it's coming from what I've recently learned is the state's first privately-funded, professionally represented coalition whose sole purpose is to make the case for freight infrastructure and to remedy what they see as a "disproportionate share of funding" going to biking and walking projects. (more...)

Freight, active transportation advocates look to flex Metro funds in their favor

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
A (small) part of traffic-1
Freight or bikes? A Metro committee
is being pulled both ways.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Next week, Metro's 17-member Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) will vote on a policy direction that will guide them in handing out $20-24 million in federal transportation funds. With scarce transportation dollars at stake these days, freight and active transportation advocates are dueling to get their projects a larger piece of the pie.

This funding pot, known as "Regional Flexible Funds" have been extremely important for non-motorized transportation projects in recent years. Last year, Metro allocated a record amount of this money -- around $10 million -- to biking and walking projects while freight projects didn't receive a dime. According to Gerik Kransky of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, in the last two funding cycles, active transportation and complete streets projects have received an average of $19.9 million from this process. (more...)

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