“The transportation package passed today is the most environmentally progressive in Oregon’s history.”
— From a statement by the Oregon Senate Democrats
The Oregon State Senate has voted in favor of House Bill 2001 by a margin of 24-6. The bill, which backers say will create 4,600 jobs a year, did not include any changes from the House version that passed on Wednesday.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) made a last-ditch call to action yesterday hoping that the Senate would strip out the $192 million earmark for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass project and instead add more funding for bike and pedestrian projects.
Inside HB 2001 are $840 million worth of new highway projects, most of them in rural Oregon counties. There are also a host of less-exciting and much less expensive programs that will fund green-leaning pilot projects, transit, and bike and ped facilities (we’ll have a fun rundown of what’s in the bill next week).
Even though insiders told us the vote was lined-up long ago and there was little chance the Senate would make any changes to the bill, the Newberg-Dundee project was getting an increasing amount of negative media attention (including a major editorial in The Oregonian this morning).
In a statement by Oregon Senate Democrats released after the vote, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) said:
“In these tough times we cannot allow Oregon to get stuck in traffic. This transportation package keeps our state moving by building roads and bridges, creating thousands of jobs and reducing greenhouse gases.”
Despite strong opposition from Oregon’s leading environmental, land-use, and conservation non-profit organizations, the statement also said that, “The transportation package passed today is the most environmentally progressive in Oregon’s history.”
Voting against the bill were:
– Brian Boquist-R
– Ted Ferrioli-R
– Jason Atkinson-R
– Fred Girod-R
– Jeff Kruse-R
– Doug Whitsett-R
We’ll have more on this next week.