Metro is in the home stretch in updating their Regional Transportation Plan. The RTP is the major transportation plan of our region’s road and transit network that includes an influential project list and sets investment priorities for the next 25 years. Before a final version is drawn up later this year, Metro needs to hear more citizen input to help them fine-tune priorities and tweak policy language so that it aligns more closely with the people who will be most impacted by it (all of us).
To help kick off the comment period for the RTP, Metro has launched a new online survey. One part of the survey is an interesting exercise that turns everyone into a budget-maker.
Here’s the exercise:
Next, I’d like for you to build a budget based on how you would like to see existing taxpayer money spent on the following six transportation priorities. Your total budget is $100 dollars. You can assign any amount to a single item, from $0 to $100, but the total of all six priorities will need to be $100. Remember to allocate the money in the way you feel most closely matches your personal values and beliefs.
The survey taker is then given six categories of spending to choose from:
- Maintain and keep our current transportation system in good condition
- Widen roads and build new connections to improve vehicle flow and safety
- Use technology to improve vehicle flow and safety on roads including timing traffic signals, pedestrian countdown signs, and flashing yellow turn signals
- Public transportation including making transit more frequent, convenient, accessible and affordable
- Connections to more places with sidewalks, walking, and bicycle paths
- Provide incentives and information to encourage carpooling, walking, bicycling, and public transit
It’s a fun and revealing exercise that gives everyday citizens a taste of the difficult decisions faced by regional planners and politicians. While I would have preferred the categories to be written up much differently, it still seems like a worthwhile exercise.
There are other questions in the survey too. In a fill-in question, Metro asks, “What change would you like to see happen to the Portland Metropolitan region transportation system in the next ten years that would most improve the quality of life for you or your family?” And there’s also the big question about how to approach climate change mitigation efforts.
You can take the survey and learn more about Metro’s current public comment period at MakeAGreatPlace.org.