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Dems: Oregon would lose over $1 billion in House proposal

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

House Democrats have reacted sharply to the transportation reauthorization proposal released yesterday by the Republican-controlled House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

Among the issues they (and many other critics) have with the bill is that it cuts back infrastructure spending by one-third from current levels.

To help drive that point home, House Democrats have published a state-by-state breakdown of how the Republican’s funding reduction proposal could impact spending (PDF).

According to their numbers (based on FHWA data), Oregon would get $2,975,097,936 over the next six years at current transportation funding levels. Over that same time period, the current House proposal would send $1,968,585,926 to Oregon — for a difference of $1,006,512,010.

Interestingly, the state that would see the largest decline is Florida, which happens to be the home state of House Rep. John Mica, the Chairman of the committee that drafted the proposal. According to the numbers, Florida’s highway program would be slashed by $3,597,745,986 (this may be why there’s a big backlash brewing among Mica’s constituents – more on that later).

Not only would states get less funding if the House proposal was passed in its current form, but dedicated funding for bicycle projects through programs like Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements would also be eliminated. This means fewer dollars and less incentive to spend what remains on anything but major highway projects that are deemed to “not serve a federal purpose.” This one-two punch has sparked major outcry from bicycle advocates and Democrats in the House.

Many details of the House proposal are yet to be released (critics point out the hypocrisy in being kept in the dark, given the Republicans calls for transparency); but at this point, it seems anyone who cares about a future where single-occupancy vehicle travel and car-centric highways aren’t the dominant form of mobility, have reason to be concerned.