Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Your bike tax at work: State of Oregon unveils new ‘Community Paths’ grant program

Posted by on February 3rd, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Paths like the Tualatin River Greenway are good examples of projects that could be funded from the new program.
(Photo: City of Tualatin)

Here’s what the State of Oregon is doing with that tax you pay on the purchase of new bicycles: The Oregon Department of Transportation has just launched a new program that could provide an estimated $14 million to multi-use path projects statewide.

The Oregon Community Paths program is the evolution of the active transportation portion of the state’s Connect Oregon (Lottery-backed) program. When the legislature passed a transportation funding bill in 2017 (HB 2017) they shifted the 7% of Connect Oregon that went to bicycling and walking projects into a separate program named the Multimodal Active Transportation Fund. That fund now also includes revenue from the bicycle excise tax that went into effect in fall 2017 and the federal Transportation Alternatives program.

According to ODOT Tourism and Scenic Byway Program Manager Sandra Hikari the Community Path Fund will start awarding grants in 2021. The $14 million estimate is for a three-year grant cycle ending in 2024. Asked for examples of projects that will compete well for the funds, she pointed to the Bear Creek Greenway in southern Oregon and the Tualatin River Greenway in Washington County.

Advertisement

ODOT limits the type of projects that can be paid for with these funds. According to the program website, the grants can pay for:

-Development, construction, reconstruction, major resurfacing, or other capital improvements of multiuse paths, bicycle paths and footpaths.
-Planning, design and engineering expenses, including consultant services, associated with developing eligible infrastructure projects.
– Federal regulations also limit who may apply for TA funds. Those who can include: A local government, including city, town, township, village, borough, parish, tribal government or county agencies. Transit agencies, any federal, tribal, state or local agency responsible for Natural Resources or public land administration (e.g. park, forest, fish/game/wildlife agencies, Department of Interior, U.S. Forest Service). A non-profit organization entity responsible for administration of local transportation safety programs. Management of TA projects must be a certified agency. While ODOT is ineligible to apply for TA funds, non-certified agencies may partner with ODOT to manage the project.

Rules and selection criteria for the program are still being worked out with the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee who are set to discuss the issue at their next meeting on February 11th and 12th in Astoria.

Learn more on ODOT’s website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

22
Leave a Reply

avatar
10 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
HowardBuzzgillyFredPaul H Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
matchupancakes
Subscriber
matchupancakes

Would love to see the Salmonberry Trail implemented more quickly and connect past Wy’east/Mt Hood to create a complete, regional trail system from the bay to the mountain.

https://www.salmonberrytrail.org/

one
Guest

I’d love to see this tax eliminated, and in it’s place, I’d like to see an increase in gas tax/ parking fees/ higher environmental standards for emissions for autos, increased cost for tags for larger SUVs, immediate tolls at the bridge and the tunnel, increased mileage of HOV lanes, free access to transit, expansion of transit, and the immediate build out of the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan.

But all I’ve got is this regressive bike tax.

Dan Kaufman
Guest
Dan Kaufman

I’ve heard (from ODOT) they are not getting the revue they anticipated and they are blaming it on non-compliance. I reckon there is more to it than that though I’d love to see all the bike shops stop complying en masse.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

This program should be called lipstick, as in on a pig. It’s just a dressing up of our laughably low funding for any mode of transportation that doesn’t involve one person in an oversized motor vehicle.

Now we’re all going to get distracted by the notion that it’s better than nothing, although to the extent this causes people to lose some of the fire in their bellies to fight to not only end car subsidies but to reclaim past subsidies and redirect them to a zero-emission future it will be worse than nothing.

Al
Guest
Al

Last Connect Oregon round of funding spent $7.8 million on bike infrastructure in a 2 year period. So that’s $3.9 million annually. This will spend $14 million in 3 year period so $4.7 million annually or about $800 thousand annual increase over the previous program. That’s what the bike tax bought us? I can’t imagine this additional spending offsetting the damage that a $15 per bike tax causes to demote bicycling at the very first point of entry into the activity.

End the bicycle tax even if it means losing the additional funding for infrastructure spending!

Finally, the State of Oregon cut me a $2,500 check for buying an electric car. I’m here to thank 167 new bicycle buyers.

It’s beyond ridiculous that you get paid to buy a car but have to pay extra to buy a bike! And for what? Some extra development the state should be undertaking anyway?

Jason
Guest
Jason

Wait.. this makes sense. How did that happen?

Jo
Guest
Jo

14 million for bike paths? Or 14 million for the homeless? Priorities bikes or people? Not so hard to figure out, well done Oregon.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I don’t understand the “bikes should pay for their own infrastructure” argument, at all. Start with pristine land and put a path across it. In the earliest days, the path was dominated by walkers, then by people on horses, and then by horses, mules, and oxen pulling carts. Eventually the bicycle came along. It wasn’t until the early part of the last century that the “Good Roads” movement pushed for infrastructure that could accommodate motor vehicles. But that didn’t mean pushing everyone else out. Bike lanes, sidewalks, and side paths have had to be added to roads only b/c motor-vehicle operators don’t want to share the roads. So it’s completely justified that motor-vehicle owners pay for the infrastructure that speeds their journeys.

Paul H
Guest
Paul H

I’ve only ridden the Bear Creek train from Medford to Ashland once, and it was three years ago, but all power to them if they can get some money to fix that trail. The asphalt was riddled with roots — it was more motocross whoops than bikeway. I pity anyone trying to ride it on a skateboard or in roller skates.

Howard
Guest
Howard

Can anyone tell me how this bike tax helps Rural Oregonians? What new bike paths are you creating East of Bend? This is another case where the Urbanites force a tax on the entire state to increase their quality of life with no thought to how it affects the rest of the state. These taxes should be done at the county or city level so the groups they help are the ones paying for that cost.