Advocates fight for key funding pot as debate heads to Capitol Hill

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
East Sunday Parkways-33

The Springwater Corridor Trail is one of many
projects around the region funded
by the federal Transportation
Enhancements program.
(Photo © J. Maus)

National bike advocacy and transportation groups are pulling out all the stops to help preserve the Transportation Enhancement (TE) program, a vital source of funds that has existed for two decades and this year alone pumped about $700 million into bicycling and walking projects (which is just a paltry 2 percent of the total spending).

The transportation bill is long overdue for a re-authorization, but yesterday the House and Senate agreed to yet another six month extension. Advocates breathed a sigh of relief when the agreement was a “clean” extension, meaning all existing programs would remain in tact. However, that agreement is set for debate in the House today on Capitol Hill, and advocacy groups’ worries now shift to making sure it stays clean.

Read more

Portland area projects in running for federal TE grants

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A new path that would connect SE Clinton Street to TriMet’s planned Willamette River Bridge near OMSI is in the running for a $1.9 million federal grant. This image, taken from the application by PBOT, shows a two-way cycle track that is planned for SE 7th Avenue.

Read more

Oregon chooses just one bike/ped project with stimulus funds

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Riders will no longer be in
the dark on the I-205 bike path.
(Photo © J. Maus)

On Friday, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC, a body appointed by Governor Kulongoski) made their final decisions on how to spend $122,592,742 in federal stimulus funds. And, if you remember our report from last week, it seems like their “cautious willingness” to consider non-highway projects turned out to be more cautious than willingness.

Read more

Crucial bike funding pot makes out well in stimulus bill

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“The bike community is very happy with the result.”
— James Koski, Deputy Chief of Staff for Earl Blumenauer

The Transportation Enhancements (TE) program is an important pot of cash doled out by the Federal Highway Administration that states can put toward bicycle and pedestrian projects. In Portland, TE funds have helped us create such popular bikeways as the Eastbank Esplanade, parts of the Springwater Corridor Trail, and the Fanno Creek Trail (in Tigard).

During negotiations on the recently passed federal economic stimulus, many national bike advocacy groups were very concerned that TE funding would not be part of the package. The League of American Bicyclists sent out a national action alert urging members to notify their representative in the U.S. Senate to make sure the program made it through.

Read more

Funding uncertainty stalls Springwater Trail project celebration

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Pavement in limbo due to
funding uncertainty.
(Photo: Aaron Tarfman)

Supporters of a project that would pave the Springwater Trail from SE Rugg Road to Dee Street in Boring are celebrating this morning after news that the Oregon Department of Transportation has put the project on its recommended funding list.

The $1.2 million Springwater Trail project — which was applied for by the Clackamas County Parks department and received an outpouring of community support — is one of 13 on the final recommended list (out of an initial 91). According to Clackamas County Parks planner Katie Dunham, the total project cost is $1.8 million and it won’t happen with the TE money.

Read more