“Failing to support the Mayor’s very affordable new bicycling initiatives when more revenue is on the table does not reflect this city’s transportation or liveability [sic] priorities.”
— Michelle Poyourow of the BTA in an action alert sent to members today
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has issued an action alert to their 3,000 members in Portland and saying the are “very concerned” about the Bureau of Transportation’s requested budget for FY 2009-2010.
Earlier today, we reported that PBOT’s budget will cut Safe Routes to Schools by 40% this coming fiscal year (the BTA is a primary contractor on Safe Routes programs).
In the action alert, the BTA’s advocate and educator Michelle Poyourow outlines this and other concerns:
The 2009-10 budget:
- Commits no revenue for building the Bike Boulevards called out in the Mayor’s 100 Day List (about $300,000).*
- Reduces the size of the Safer Routes to Schools program by about 40% (about $200,000).
- Fails to fund the demonstration cycletrack called out in the Mayor’s 100 Day List (about $100,000).
(*In a section titled, “Other Decision Packages” there is a line labeled, “Bike Boulevards ($516,000 add) develops bike boulevards city-wide.”)
Poyourow goes on to explain that, while PBOT is facing cuts to their budget, they are also “proposing millions of dollars in new meter, garage, and fee revenue, sufficient to cover cuts and to pay for more than $5 million in new road paving.”
Poyourow is referring to an increase in the cost of parking (mostly downtown) that PBOT is set to enact on July 1 (the start of the city’s 2009 fiscal year). The increased revenue from these new parking policies is currently slated to go directly to paving and paving jobs.
In their Requested Budget FY 2009-2010, PBOT lists 10 “Revenue Enhancement Packages”. Of those, four of them are listed as “Economic Stimulus-Private Sector Paving”. Those four packages (listed below) represent over $6.5 million in new revenue for the city (this is the new revenue the BTA feels should not all be spent on paving and paving jobs):
Garage Rates ($1,500,000 add) increase of hourly garage rates to reflect comparable rates of privately-owned garages and on-street meter rates. Rates vary by garage location. Creates an estimated 21 private sector paving jobs.
Meter Rates & Mall Maintenance ($2,200,000 add) increase of $.25 per hour for all meters to reflect comparable off-street garage rates set by private businesses. Meter rates vary by district: CBD (Central Business District) rates will increase from $1.25 to $1.50 per hour; Lloyd meters from $1.00 to $1.25 per hour, etc. $1.1 million will create an estimated 15 private sector paving jobs; $1.1 million will provide transit mall security.
Meter Operating Hours ($1,700,000 add) increase meter hours of operation for downtown-only parking meters from 7PM to 9PM, to reflect comparable off-street garage hours availability and rates. An estimated 24 private sector paving jobs will be created.
Cost of Service Fees ($1,114,500 add). Creates an estimated 16 private sector paving jobs on city arterials, funded by increases in Parking Operations and other service charges and fees to reduce city subsidies per city policy.
On the phone earlier today, Poyourow agreed that paving is important, but she said PBOT’s spending should reflect a mix of priorities and should not put all their eggs in one basket. “I see them doing only one thing with the money,” she said. In the action alert she writes,
“Cutting popular, successful active transportation programs and failing to support the Mayor’s very affordable new bicycling initiatives when more revenue is on the table does not reflect this city’s transportation or liveability [sic] priorities.”
Poyourow is urging BTA members to call or email Mayor Sam Adams and all four other Commissioners and ask “that he fund bike improvements and restore Safer Routes to Schools funding.” The BTA also plans to use their monthly Kidical Mass rides as “rallies in support of Safe Routes”. In addition to the rides/rallies, the BTA wants members to attend upcoming public budget hearings to voice support for bike funding.
For more information, view the action alert here.