BTA action alert: More money for bikes and one less highway in HB 2001

The BTA is making a last
ditch effort to fix HB 2001.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has sent out an action alert they hope will bring some much-needed change to the Governor’s transportation package that passed the House yesterday.

House Bill 2001, which includes an $840 million list of earmarked highway projects, will be voted on by the Oregon State Senate any day now, so there’s a very short timeframe for further advocacy.

The BTA will urge their members (and anyone else that sees the alert) to “ask for a better transportation package”. They want people to contact their Senate representatives and tell them to:

1. Increase funding for healthy transportation by increasing the minimum funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure from 1% to 1.5% of highway and street expenditures and putting money in the new Urban Trails Fund.

2. Exclude the $192 million earmark for Newberg-Dundee Bypass. In April, Governor Kulongkoski said, “Having the Legislature choose the transportation projects that will be funded is not the Oregon way.” On a long list of highway projects, the massive Newberg-Dundee earmark stands out for disproportionately serving the interests of a few Oregonians at the cost of improvements that would
benefit the entire state

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Sources I’ve talked to say the Senate vote is already “wired” (meaning the votes are counted and the bill is guaranteed to pass) and that any major changes at this point are unlikely. However, thanks in part by some negative news coverage that raises the specter of backroom shenanigans, the $192 million Newberg-Dundee Bypass project might be turning into a politically risky project.

If the Senate amends the bill to make the changes the BTA is proposing, it would then have to be referred to the Senate Transportation Committee for approval and then back to the House for their sign-off before it would reach the Governor’s desk.

In their action alert, the BTA says the bill passed yesterday “included measures that the BTA supports,” but that, “we believe our Oregon legislators can do better.”

Specifically, referring to the $840 million in earmarked highway projects listed in the bill, the BTA says they, “cannot support such massive freeway expansion projects without a strong public priority setting process.”

The BTA calls the Newberg-Dundee Bypass project “the sore thumb” of those earmarked projects and they call it into question because it, “has not yet received any funding or priority outside of this bill.”

Read the full action alert here.

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