Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 19th, 2008 at 2:31 pm
[Note: You’ll notice I’ve begun using the acronym PBOT instead of PDOT. That’s because the Portland Department of Transportation (which actually is the Office of Transportation but no one ever called it POOT) will soon officially become the “Bureau” of Transportation.]
“If you had to cut $6.4 million out of Transportation’s budget, how would you prioritize the following programs?”
— From an online survey put out by PBOT
Citing an expected shortfall of $6.4 million for the coming financial year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), through their Budget Advisory Committee, has launched an online Budget Prioritization Survey. The budget shrinkage, they say, is due to a “sagging gas tax and lower parking revenue”.
According to Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams’ policy advisor Shoshanah Oppenheim, the budget survey has been sent out all neighborhood associations, business districts, chambers of commerce, etc…
“The intention,” she says “is to get a benchmark from the community as to their priorities.” Oppenheim says that “this is a difficult time for PBOT” and that they expect “significant reductions” to their budget.
The survey is part of a process PBOT has undertaken in order to scrutinize their expenditures. Also as part of that process, they’ve formed a Budget Advisory Committee to review results of the survey. The committee, according to Oppenheim consists of reps from the BTA, neighborhoods, labor, and the business community.
The committee’s task is to help PBOT identify cuts in “discretionary funded activities” that will equal the $6.4 million gap.
Just where those cuts will come from remains to be decided, and will be “weighed against bureau priorities.” “Maintaining a safe system for all modes, including cyclists,” Oppenheim assured me, “is a priority of the bureau and the Mayor-elect.”
The survey lists 25 “programs” in “priority order” and then asks, “If you had to cut $6.4 million out of Transportation’s budget, how would you prioritize the following programs?”
The programs themselves are sort of curious. The top three listed are; “Traffic Signal Operations”, “Traffic Maintenance”, and “Transportation Planning.” “Streetlighting Operations” is listed #6. There’s no mention of bikes specifically, but “Sidewalk Preservation” is in there as #13. I’m not sure whether most Portland have any clue about what those things are.
[Thanks to a comment below by PBOT employee Paul Cone, here’s a link to their website that might be helpful in learning more about these programs.]
I’m also a bit surprised more outreach wasn’t done for such an important survey. I only came across it through the City of Portland’s website RSS feed. Other than that, only one person (a PBOT staffer) forwarded me the link, and did so with subject of “important survey”.
You can take this important survey here. Responses are due on January 2nd.