One of our key legislative priorities for the 2013 Oregon Legislature is to increase the amount of money available and dedicated to biking projects across the state. The conversation we have been having with transportation and legislative leaders is about the proposed Connect Oregon Plus.
This concept would significantly increase the amount of lottery dollars Oregon allocates to transportation projects and expand the list of eligible projects beyond aviation, marine, and rail to include bicycle and pedestrian projects and transit operations.
When it comes to Connect Oregon Plus, conversations in the legislature have stalled. We continue to work to revive interest in dedicating significantly increased revenue into this program, but in the meantime, we are turning our sights to another opportunity.
The traditional version of Connect Oregon, HB 2310, is scheduled for a public hearing on Friday, March 22nd. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has been working on amendments to HB 2310 that would expand the program’s eligibility to include bicycle and pedestrian projects. The amendments allow active transportation projects to compete for existing funds but do not influence the amount of money in the program.
Now is the time to write an email to members of the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee to encourage theme to support the amended bill, HB 2310-1.
- Chair Tobias Read – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice-Chair Cliff Bentz – email@example.com
- Vice- Chair Chris Gorsek – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Kevin Cameron – email@example.com
- Rep. John Davis – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Margaret Doherty – email@example.com
- Rep. John Lively – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Caddy McKeown – email@example.com
- Rep. Nancy Nathanson – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Julie Parrish – email@example.com
Feel free to mention the following three main points in your emails and be sure to ask committee members to vote in support of the dash one amendments.
Please support HB 2310-1 to allow bicycle and pedestrian projects to compete for funding our successful program, Connect Oregon. This bill, as amended, will create economic benefits for Oregonians while improving our ability to build a complete transportation system. Please consider the following research showing the clear need and economic benefits of this approach.
- The construction industry is among the hardest hit by the recession. Infrastructure investment helps create jobs in this sector. Pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure is a great way to do that. In fact, research shows that bicycle and pedestrian projects create more jobs per dollar invested than road projects. (Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts, Heidi Garrett-Peltier 6/20/2011)
- If we expand transportation options for more residents we can reduce household costs, expand disposable income, and support local businesses. For example, recent Portland State University research finds that Portlanders accessing businesses by walking, biking, and transit visit local businesses more often, and spend more per month at certain types of businesses. (Exploring the Relationship Between Consumer Behavior and Mode Choice, Clifton, Kelly J; Morrissey, Sara; Ritter, Chloe 7/17/2012)
- The merit-based ODOT Flex Fund program, which funded multimodal projects and was oversubscribed $68 million (324%), has ended. In 2013, Oregon’s Transportation Enhancements and Bicycle and Pedestrian Program was oversubscribed by $39.6 million (460%). Despite these funding challenges growing our investment in active transportation has many benefits for Oregon. Making it safer and easier to walk, bike, and ride public transit will help Oregonians be healthier by preventing injury collisions, improving air quality and providing more opportunity for physical activity.
Thank you for considering these important issues facing Oregonians. I urge you to vote in support of HB 2310-1.
If you have any questions about this bill, or other BTA legislative priorites, please contact the BTA’s Advocacy Director, Gerik Kransky, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 226-0676 x11.