Biking and Safe Routes to School programs come up big in $2.5 million worth of regional grants

by on November 30th, 2016 at 10:15 am

Bike to School Day in NoPo-17

About a quarter of the grants went to Safe Routes to School programs.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s some good news: Metro just announced grants to 17 agencies and organizations throughout the region that will make it easier to get around without driving alone. The grants are worth a total of $2.5 million — money that comes from the federal government and is doled out by Metro via their Regional Travel Options (RTO) program.

Metro spokesman Craig Beebe said, “This cycle’s awardees continue the program’s trend of focusing on youth and underserved communities.”

On that note, a $178,000 grant to the Community Cycling Center will allow the nonprofit to implement a “community centered” Safe Routes to School program at Title I schools (where students come from low-income families). And the Bicycle Transportation Alliance won $203,000 for an “Access to Bicycling initiative” that will include a continuation of their Women Bike program and hands-on bike repair and riding clinics at workplaces and in communities around the region. In Washington County, the Westside Transportation Alliance will use its $196,000 grant to encourage biking, walking and transit use in areas with a high percentage of low-wage and shift workers.
[Read more…]

The case against using gas taxes for bike infrastructure

A J Zelada by on December 4th, 2015 at 4:09 pm


A gas station on W Burnside.
(Photo: C.M. Keiner)

Editor’s note: We’re highlighting this (lightly edited) BikePortlander post as a comment of the week. It’s a doozy, but it’s provocative. The author, A.J. Zelada, is a past contributor who has volunteered as a transportation advisor for Oregon and others.

Now that Black Friday came and went, I want you to rethink the gas-tax approach to boosting active transportation revenue.

I think the gas tax is a snake eating its own tail. It undermines the serious effort we need.

[Read more…]

Bike/walk projects dominate requests for state lottery-backed funding program

by on December 4th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-30

The Union Street Bridge in Salem — open only for walking and biking — is the type of project that is eligible for ConnectOregon funds.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cities across Oregon are clamoring for more money to build infrastructure that makes it easier for people to walk and bike.

Back in July, thanks to a concerted lobbying effort the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), the state of Oregon made biking and walking projects eligible for $42 million in funding through the ConnectOregon program for the first time ever.

Sources say this never would have happened without the BTA’s extensive and focused lobbying on the bill and they call it the biggest victory for BTA in Salem in at least 5 years.

ConnectOregon began in 2005 and it relies on lottery-backed bonds to invest in “multimodal transportation projects” around the state. It’s a rare state transportation program that offers dedicated funding for “non-highway” infrastructure. Prior to this year, only air, rail, marine/ports, and transit infrastructure were eligible.

Yesterday, ODOT announced they received 108 applications for this year’s round of ConnectOregon funding. Of the $129.4 million total requested funds, $47.5 million are categorized as “Bicycle/Pedestrian” — more than any of the other four eligible modes and more than the requests for Aviation, Marine, and Transit projects combined.
[Read more…]

Do bikes get a free ride? Advocates’ infographic shows why not (updated)

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 12th, 2013 at 8:45 am

Click for full version.

One car damages the road about as much as 9,600 bicycles. If bike riders had to pay a fee for their wear and tear on roads, they’d be writing checks for a few cents per year.

In other words: When people ride bikes, they save everyone money.

Those are the facts the Portland-based Bicycle Transportation Alliance is spreading with the new infographic below. The BTA says it’s designed to “start a conversation” about the ways we pay for our road system, despite a funding regime that Communications Director Will Vanlue calls “kind of a mess and hard to understand.”

[Read more…]

Bike access projects for Cully, Foster, Broadway make first cut for ODOT grants

by on March 19th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-2

A PBOT project to improve safety for bicycling
on Broadway between N. Wheeler and Ross
is in the running for state funding.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation has released an updated list of projects to be funded and constructed through their 2015-18 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). For ODOT Region 1 (which includes Clackamas, Hood River, Multnomah and parts of Washington County) the program splits $127 million between a “Fix-It” pot and an “Enhance” pot to the tune of $60.5 million and $66.4 million respectively. “Fix-It” projects “maintain or preserve the existing system” (primarily new signals, bridge repairs, and paving), while the “Enhance” projects “expand or improve the transportation system.”

The list released by ODOT today for public feedback is a 150% list — meaning they will further narrow down the list based on your comments.

For context, this is the first time ODOT has ever doled out these funds in this manner. Prior to last summer (when ODOT announced the changes), the STIP program had 22 different individual programs. All these dedicated funding pots have been simplified down to just these two. [Read more…]

PBOT applies for $36 million in state transportation grants

by on November 29th, 2012 at 10:22 am

Williams traffic-1

City wants $1.5 million for N. Williams Ave.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has applied for over $36 million in state transportation grants. The grants are administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) through their 2015-2018 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). PBOT’s list (PDF) includes 16 projects, many of which are crucial for improving bicycle access throughout the Portland metro region.

See highlights from the list below, followed by my comments and more analysis of the STIP process:

ODOT Director affirms commitment to active transportation in MAP-21

by on November 5th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

“MAP-21 cut dedicated funding… Regardless, ODOT is committed to funding active transportation programs.”
— Matt Garrett, Director of ODOT

Oregon biking and walking advocates received good news on Friday when ODOT Director Matt Garrett announced his agency is committed to key biking and walking programs that lost dedicated funding in the recently passed federal transportation bill (MAP-21).

As we detailed back in June, MAP-21 completely changed (and/or eliminated) the way many programs were funded. These changes have caused anxiety among advocates who worry that the new rules will make it difficult for biking, walking, and transit-centric projects to compete with more traditional highway projects.

Here’s an excerpt from Garrett’s statement:[Read more…]

BTA fights as Metro funding battle brews once again

by on October 10th, 2012 at 11:07 am

“It is unacceptable to the BTA to consider overturning our current policy… The Port [of Portland]… wants this money for highway/road projects. Now is the time to say no.”
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

A funding fight is brewing at Metro over how the regional planning agency should allocate nearly $38 million in federal funds. Unlike the vast majority of transportation funds fought over by various regional interest groups, these funds are “flexible,” meaning they can be spent on nearly any type of project. With scarce dollars in play these days, the competition to snag them is intense.

The $37.78 on the table at Metro is a portion of $147 million in “regional flexible funds” they will dole out through the federal government’s Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) for the years of 2016 – 2018.
[Read more…]

ODOT takes stock of funding levels in new transportation bill

by on June 29th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

A day in Salem-3

They’re already crunching numbers in Salem.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Congress officially passed a new, two-year transportation bill today. As I shared yesterday, it’s regarded by active transportation advocates as being downright bad. Even Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who was on the conference committee that hashed out the final bill, calls its passage “strangely anti-climactic” (I spoke with Congressman Blumenauer today and will share his candid take on the bill in a separate story).

For their part, the Oregon Department of Transportation has wasted no time in parsing the numbers to see where their programs and funding levels stand with the new bill. ODOT’s role in doling out federal transportation funds has become heightened because a major theme of the new bill is that it gives more control of the pursestrings to states. For instance, a full one-half of the total amount of money in a new program dubbed “Transportation Alternatives” (about $307 million per year nationwide) will be doled out through a competitive grant program. (States can also decide to spend that chunk on other things, although given ODOT’s track record and trajectory of respect toward active transportation, it’s unlikely they would take part in that sneaky “opt-out” provision.)[Read more…]

State prioritizes ‘user fee for bikes’ in report to Governor on new funding ideas

by on May 30th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

A new report presented to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber yesterday outlines and prioritizes 16 new “non-roadway” transportation funding mechanisms. Among the ideas selected as a priority for “additional consideration for further implementation” and possible legislative action, is a “User fee for bikes.”

The 93 page report, Oregon Non-Roadway Transportation Funding Options: Report to the Governor, (PDF) is the result of a 64-person “Non-Roadway Working Group” that was convened by Kitzhaber back in November. The group included a large list of transportation stakeholders (including Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky), many members of the Oregon legislature, and State staffers (see full list below).

The purpose of this project (which has been on the to-do list for the state since 2008) was to, “develop recommendations for sustainable funding of non-roadway transportation, including rail, marine, aviation, transit, and on and off-road bicycle and pedestrian paths.” [Read more…]