Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 15th, 2009 at 11:04 am
one-third the total cost to
replace the Sellwood Bridge.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Funding to replace the Selwood Bridge is coming together. As per HB 2001 — the transportation funding package that passed the Oregon legislature this past session — Multnomah County is considering a new, $19 motorized vehicle registration fee that will raise $127 million to help pay for the bridge.
“The BTA absolutely supports raising money for new bicycle infrastructure in such ways that bicyclists can also contribute.”
— Scott Bricker, executive director of the BTA
According to a fact sheet issued by Multnomah County (PDF here), the fee would be in place for 20 years, it would apply to 577,240 motorized vehicles registered in the county (trucks weighing 26,000 lbs. are exempt), and County residents would start paying the fee in Fall of 2010.
In a letter to Commissioners, Bricker pointed out that in a 2005 BTA survey, the Sellwood Bridge was cited as the “most insurmountable and oft-cited physical barrier”. Bricker also strongly supported the vehicle fee, stating that in a separate survey of more than 2,000 “bicyclists”, the BTA found that 9 out of 10 of them owned at least one car and 2 out of 5 own two cars or more. Based on that, Bricker testified:
“While bicycles, as vehicles, have a near-negligible impact on existing roadways, the BTA absolutely supports raising money for new bicycle infrastructure in such ways that bicyclists can also contribute. A vehicle registration fee is one of those way.”
A locally preferred alternative for the bridge design was selected back in February. It includes two, 12-foot lanes for motor vehicle traffic, a 6 1/2-foot wide bike traffic lane, and a 12-foot sidewalk.
Total bridge cost is estimated to be $330 million and the rest would be paid through a mix of sources including federal funds, a similar (yet smaller) vehicle fee expected to be enacted by Clackamas County, and existing County bridge coffers. If all these funding sources come through, construction will begin in late 2012 and be completed in 2016.
Multnomah County commissioners are considering the new vehicle registration fee at a hearing today and a second hearing on October 22nd. Check out SellwoodBridge.org for more information.