2017 legislative session

The Street Trust: Oregon transpo bill falls short on Safe Routes to School

Avatar by on June 6th, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Bike to School Day in NoPo-17

The current bill would only improve streets within one-quarter mile of schools.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Staff and supporters from The Street Trust are pedaling to Salem today with a message for legislators: The $8.2 billion transportation bill doesn’t do enough to fund Safe Routes to School. Not nearly enough.

While lawmakers want to fast-track nearly $2 billion for a few freeway expansion projects in the Portland region, they want to dedicate just $10 million a year to the Safe Routes to School program.

LeeAnne Fergason, who heads up The Street Trust’s For Every Kid Coalition, wrote in an email last week that $10 million per year “is not adequate.”

In House Bill 2017, lawmakers have proposed $10 million a year for 10 years to be spent to, “improve sidewalks; reduce vehicle speeds; improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings; create or improve bicycle lanes; or improve traffic diversion” within a quarter-mile of schools. The money would also only be available to agencies and organizations that could come up with a 40 percent match (meaning grant applicants would have to come up with 40% of the project cost from their own budgets in order to receive any state money).

The language in HB 2017 falls far short of what The Street Trust has been lobbying for. They want the bill to include provisions in House Bill 3230, which they helped write in collaboration with Portland House Representative Rob Nosse Representative John Lively from Springfield and Senator Kathleen Taylor from Milwaukie. That bill sailed through the House in April but hasn’t moved forward in the Senate. Here’s a chart created by The Street Trust that shows the difference between HB 3230 and HB 2017.
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2017 Oregon transportation bill: Here’s how to make your voice matter

Avatar 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:
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Oregon’s $8 billion transportation bill promises ‘congestion relief’ by doubling down on highways

Avatar by on June 2nd, 2017 at 4:57 am

Policymakers Ride-21

Too much of one, not enough of the other.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The speculations are over and now the debates can begin.

On Wednesday night a bipartisan committee of state legislators released the first draft of the transportation funding package. The 298-page House Bill 2017 aims to raise $8.2 billion over the next 10 years from a combination of increases to existing taxes and fees, and a few new ones.

The bill tilts heavily toward major new investments in roads and highways that will make driving more convenient. Local bus services get a boost, while investment in light rail is explicitly prohibited. Biking and walking see an amount of dedicated investment that’s unprecedented compared to past packages; but is still embarrassingly small relative to other priorities.

The broad outlines of the bill are similar to what has been discussed during recent meetings of the 14-member Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee. But there are several noteworthy new details to discuss.
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Portland’s 20 mph speed limit bill passes Senate, nears final passage

Avatar by on May 23rd, 2017 at 10:22 am

SE Division Takeover-5.jpg

East Portland resident Sarah Iannarone during a December 2016 protest at the corner of SE 82nd and Division.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new state law that would allow the City of Portland to reduce speed limits on over 3,000 miles of residential streets — that’s over 60 percent of all the streets in Portland — to 20 mph cleared a major hurdle yesterday.

With a vote of 4-1 in the Senate Committee On Business and Transportation, House Bill 2682 now only has to pass a vote of the full Senate before it can be signed into law. The bill passed the Oregon House 55-1 back in April.

The bill, sponsored by State Respresentative Rob Nosse, would only apply to the City of Portland. It was amended after cities and counties across the state said they didn’t want the added resonsibility of making speed limit decisions themselves and would rather have ODOT’s continued oversight.
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Bike industry leaders oppose bike tax proposal amid push for alternatives

Avatar by on May 15th, 2017 at 2:03 pm

North Portland Bikeworks new location-2-1

(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Right now in Salem, lawmakers are drafting a statewide transportation funding package that aims to raise over $8 billion. As we reported last week, one small piece of that new revenue — an estimated $2 million a year — would come from a 5 percent tax on the purchase of new bicycles.

The tax would add $35 to the average price of a new bike purchased at a bike shop. It would be an unprecented step for Oregon and the only tax of its kind in America.

Not surprisingly, bike shop owners throughout Oregon are very concerned.[Read more…]

The latest on Oregon’s bike tax proposal from Street Trust policy director Gerik Kransky

Avatar by on May 12th, 2017 at 11:33 am

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s an advocacy group to do when they strongly oppose a policy idea, but are cognizant of the broader political context that surrounds it? It’s a complicated question that often has no easy answer.
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Oregon transportation funding proposal includes 5% tax on new bicycles

Avatar by on May 9th, 2017 at 11:21 am

State Senator Brian Boquist knows we can’t build or tax our way out of congestion; but he wants to try it one more time.

Last night in Salem the Joint Committee On Transportation Preservation and Modernization unveiled the outline of what will become a statewide transportation funding bill.

As expected, the proposal (PDF) includes earmarks for several major highway widening projects in the Portland region and a tax on the sale of new bicycles. Overall, the package would raise about $8.1 billion that would be phased in over 10 years. That money would come from a mix of new and existing taxes and fees. As we reported back in March, the ideas presented to the committee yesterday by Senators Brian Boquist and Lee Beyer (committee co-chairs) came from four main “work groups” that met in open-door meetings in the capitol over the past three months. The proposals were also greatly influenced by an 11-city statewide tour taken by committee members last summer as well as a report by the Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel that came out one year ago.

Here’s what they put on the table last night. As you read them, consider Sen. Beyer’s comments last night: “This proposal can change; but if we want to solve the transportation problems the people told us they want to solve, this gets us there. This is the minimum we should do.” [Read more…]

Distracted driving, Vision Zero, speed limits and more: Checking in on the Oregon legislative session

Avatar by on May 5th, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Distracted driver being distracted.jpg

Lawmakers are poised overhaul Oregon’s cell phone/distracted driving law.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon lawmakers want to make it easier to hunt animals with your car (seriously), but they want to make it harder to use your phone while doing so.

We’re just over half-way through the 2017 legislative session and it’s time to see how the bills we’ve been tracking are holding up.

As you might recall, back in February we flagged nine House bills and nine Senate bills. (We’re also watching the Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee. They’re set to unveil the big transportation funding package very soon. It could even happen at their meeting this Monday.)

Some are dead, some are on life support, and some are flourishing and are likely to become law. Here’s the full rundown:

House Bills Still Alive

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Portland is now one step closer to a 20 mph default residential speed limit – UPDATED

Avatar by on April 14th, 2017 at 11:27 am

Nopo neighborhood greenway.jpg

For best results, add lower speeds.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been a good week for active transportation at the legislature. They said yes to Safe Routes to School, they killed an irresponsible highway-building bill, and they set the stage for Portland to take a major step in street safety.

So far this week, the Oregon House has voted yes on three bills we’re watching. They all passed overwhelmingly, garnering 26 “ayes” and just one “nay”. We shared the good news about the Safe Routes to School bill (HB 3230) on Wednesday. The day before that the House Committee On Agriculture and Natural Resources passed the Oregon Coast Trail Bill (HB 3149), which will establish a State Parks fund to hasten development of a plan for a walking trail along the coast.

We also learned this week that HB 3231 will not move forward. This is the bill that would have given cities and counties the ability to form powerful tolling districts and build new highways completely independent of planning or public oversight. After getting summarily shot down by respected opposition voices in a public hearing last week, the champion of the bill, Washington County Republican Rich Vial, shared news of its demise in his latest constituent newsletter. “Last Friday,” he wrote, “I was informed by the committee chair that HB 3231 would not receive a work session by the April 18th first chamber deadline, which prevents the bill from moving forward this session.” Good riddance!

The big day for sensible transportation policy was Wednesday, when the House Committee on Transportation Policy voted unanimously to pass HB 2682 which gives the City of Portland the ability to lower residential speed limits to 20 mph without first getting permission from the state. As we reported on Tuesday, the bill changed dramatically from its original form. The one that passed Wednesday limits the geographic scope of the bill to just Portland (instead of the entire state) and limits the type of roads the lower speed limits can be applied to.
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‘Safe routes to school’ bill moves out of committee with 8-1 vote

Avatar by on April 12th, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Advocates in Salem today celebrated progress for their Safe Routes to School efforts.

The Street Trust celebrated a legislative victory this morning as the House Committee on Transportation Policy voted 8-1 in favor of House Bill 3230.

The bill, sponsored by House Representative John Lively (D-Springfield) and Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie), would take $12 million from the state’s General Fund and deposit it into a Safe Routes to Schools Fund that would be administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation and mandate that ODOT spends at least $20 million of their State Highway Fund allotment on the safe routes infrastructure projects. It would also prioritize the funding toward low-income Title I schools and require infrastructure projects to be coupled with educational and outreach components.
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