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$700,000 expected in PBOT budget now gone

Posted by on January 8th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

“We’re basically back where we started.”
— Tom Miller, PBOT Director, in an email to his budget advisory committee

Remember the $700,000 that was added back to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s budget last month? Now it’s pretty much all gone.

Last Friday, outgoing PBOT Director Tom Miller emailed the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee to announce that new, lower projections for parking garage revenue means only about $100,000 of that $700,000 is now coming back to the budget. “We’re basically back where we started,” read Miller’s email.

With a bleak budget outlook, the news last month that the PBOT 2013-2014 budget gap would go from $4.5 million to $3.8 million led to immediate deal-making on PBOT’s Budget Advisory Committee. As we reported on December 12th, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance quickly went to work leading a coalition of BAC members who agreed to put the entire $700,000 worth of “add-back funds” toward active transportation.

The next day, the BTA sent out a fundraising email to their 5,000-plus members with the headline, “We won back $700,000 for active transportation and the victory is because of your support.” At the time, it was surprising they acted so quickly in announcing a “victory,” given that it was so early in budget negotations and that the PBOT budget has so many moving parts. While that proclamation seems even more premature given this new development, it’s worth noting that the BTA had reason to celebrate given the broad support they won around the BAC table.

Reached by phone this afternoon, BTA Advocacy Director (and PBOT budget committee member) Gerik Kransky said their public communications were a “fair characterization of the strong amount of support we had assembled.” “Now that that opportunity has evaporated, we’ll continue to work with our partners to find an opportunity add money back into active transportation.”

Of $4.5 million in cuts on the table, PBOT is currently proposing that $1.5 million of it comes directly out of active transportation related projects and programs. “That’s a deep cut that takes away popular programs,” added Kransky, “it’s the wrong direction to be moving.”

The next (and final) budget advisory committee meeting is on on Tuesday, January 15th. Learn more about the PBOT budget process on the City’s website.

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  • Hart Noecker January 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Yet we’re going to commit $490 million dollars for a freeway expansion. Talk about austerity.

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    • 9watts January 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Is anyone noting that the ostensible cause is that (CAR) PARKING revenue declined? That wouldn’t mean that there’s less driving going on, by any chance? Hm.
      Let’s cut active transportation.

      P.S. $600,000 of $700,000 is 86%. What relationship does this ratio have to parking garage occupancy rates? Surely they’ve not declined that much. Or were the projections (like we saw for the CRC) just that wildly off? Are there other metrics that might corroborate this (apparent) trend away from driving so much?

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      • meh January 9, 2013 at 7:28 am

        Less driving to Portland or at least the areas that require paying for parking. Downtown is dead, the neighborhoods are drawing the crowds.

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        • Spiffy January 9, 2013 at 8:12 am

          if you think downtown is dead then you haven’t been there…

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        • Craig Harlow January 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

          I visit downtown from close-in NE much more than I ever did when I owned a car…by bus, by bike, on foot, or in a Car2GO. I don’t pay for parking.

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        • matt picio January 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

          Old Town and the Pearl and downtown *are* neighborhoods. They’re all still pretty busy – there’s just fewer cars involved.

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  • Ted Buehler January 9, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Ya’all might consider sending your thoughts on this to our new mayor.

    Charlie Hales, Mayor
    City Hall @ 1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 340, 97204
    Phone: (503) 823-4120
    e-mail: mayorhales@portlandoregon.gov

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