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2017 Oregon transportation bill: Here’s how to make your voice matter

Posted by on June 2nd, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-9

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Our elected representatives need to hear what you think of the $8.2 billion transportation package.

The Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization just released the full details for the upcoming hearings for House Bill 2017. And The Street Trust is riding to Salem for one of them.

Here are the details:

The committee is having three hearings. The first one on Monday will include invited testimony only. The other two are open to the public. All the hearings begin at 5:00 pm and will take place at the State Capitol in Hearing Room F. Committee meetings are usually streamed live online. We’ve asked for a confirmation on that and have yet to hear back.


Keep in mind that if a significant disagreement arises and an amendment is needed, the committee plans to hear those on Wednesday. Also, the current plan is for this committee to vote on the bill sometime between June 12th and 16th.

If you’d like to join others who care about transportation, The Street Trust is hosting Ride to Salem Tuesday in time to speak at the hearing. Here’s more from TST:

Join us in bicycling to Salem on June 6th to make our priorities known at the first public hearing on HB 2017, the transportation funding package.

We ride for Safe Routes to School for Every Kid and especially for low-income families.

We ride for off-street bicycle and pedestrian paths.

We ride for more funding for public transportation and free transit passes for youth.

We ride for in-school bicycle and pedestrian safety education.

We ride for safe streets for all Oregonians.

We ride to say bicycling is part of the solution- not something to be targeted with a bike tax.

If you’d like to join, meet at the Portland State University Urban Plaza (south of Mill Street between 5th and 6th) at 9:30 am. The route is 58 miles long and will stick to the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. See the event listing for more details.

You can also contact your representative directly using this handy tool or send an email to the JTPM committee via

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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    David June 2, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Great coverage on this bill Jonathan. I sent e-mails to my state representative, state senator, and this committee. This is not something I normally do, however the legislation is just so backwards given the stated outcomes they desire.

    They have managed to take a bill aimed at reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions and twist it to encourage people to drive while not meaningfully funding alternatives. They could spend a small fraction of this, make cycling more than a fringe activity and have a larger impact on the state’s transportation network.

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    J.E. June 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Also, if going all the way to Salem is a bit much for you, BikeLoudPDX is holding a protest against the Portland-area freeway-widening projects this Monday, June 5, from 4:30-6pm.

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    K'Tesh June 2, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Since I won’t be able to attend, could someone do me a favor?

    Wheel eating storm drain grates that were installed prior to 1971 were grandfathered back in 1971. Grandpa’s dead… Let’s get the grandfathered grates replaced.

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      shirtsoff June 2, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      I’ll be attending the ride. This is my first time visiting Salem for a funding bill but I will make sure to mention this at any opportunity, K’Tesh.

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    Andrew Margeson June 2, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    So, do you believe the BTA was an effective advocate for cycling and, now that they have broadened their focus, do you think they will do a good job advocating for cycling this time? Why are we following them?

    My belief is that we would do much better if we were advocating forcefully for a major list of specific bicycle facility construction projects to go with the highway projects and testifying that we were willing to make a financial contribution to building them. That would get a lot of respect and would have a chance at success in order to get us in a coalition supporting passage.

    Saying no to highway projects, saying no to a sales tax on some new bicycles, saying no no no will just render us irrelevant and ignored.

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    David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Another option to Salem is Amtrak. They have a train at 6am and buses at 7am, 10:40 am, & 11:40 am (and others in the afternoon) from Union Station to the Salem depot. Return train at 5:11pm, plus buses at 1:05 pm, 2:40 pm, 4:10 pm, 6:15 pm, and 6:55 pm. About an hour and 20 min each way. Tickets start at $16 per person in each direction, plus $5 per bike, so $42 round trip for you and your bike. Your bike needs a ticket too. Bikes are hung up on the train; in general, you’ll need not remove pedals, wheels, nor handlebars (tandems are not allowed). Amtrak also offers the incredibly unreliable Coast Starlight service at the same price, leaving at 2:25 pm and returning at 1:55 pm the next day, assuming it’s running on time.

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      9watts June 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      don’t forget Trimet + Cherriots public buses that rendezvous in Wilsonville. $2.50 + $3.00 = Cheap!

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    Kyle Banerjee June 3, 2017 at 1:06 am

    As someone who worked on the Capitol Mall for a number of years and has testified on a couple laws, the best thing you can do is contact legislators individually.

    The Capital is a magnet for protests and kooks — there were so many I couldn’t begin to keep track of them. There are too many for any to have any effect.

    A group with a focused message does make a difference. Showing up to hearings matters. But the individual contact is most important.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 3, 2017 at 9:27 am

    TST needs to set up a webpage that allows one-click sending of emails to all relevant legislators, and blast that page out to its entire mailing list, publicize here, etc.

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    007 June 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the article. I emailed my rep (and senator).

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    Jon June 5, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Here is what I am sending my state rep and senator:

    I am writing you with my concerns about the propose transportation bill. It appears to me that the proposed bill punishes the low carbon transportation options that will help keep our air clean and lower CO2 emissions.
    Reports have talked about registration fees being higher for higher fuel economy and electric vehicles so that a car getting 40 miles per gallon will cost much more than a vehicle getting under 19 miles per gallon. It makes no sense to incentivize someone to buy a LESS fuel efficient vehicle if we care about C02 emissions. If we care about the planet and Oregon it would cost more to register a gas guzzler than a fuel efficient vehicle. It would seem to me to be much fairer to base registration fees on the value of the vehicle. If someone owns a new Porsche they should pay more than someone who purchases a used Chevy.
    A sales tax on adult bicycles also punishes people for a low carbon transportation option. Why not tax running shoes because people run on sidewalks and roads?
    The state already has the bureaucracy to collect the gas tax. Why not just increase the gas tax enough to cover transportation costs? Increasing the gas tax makes larger more polluting vehicles more expensive to operate which is good for everyone that breaths and lives in Oregon.
    Thanks, Jon

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    Bald One June 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Transportation initiative must also include mechanism for reducing diesel particulate pollution from old trucks and engines. Don’t forget to mention the your interest in creating new clean diesel standards for Oregon.

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