Monday, March 25, 2013

Legislative Update, Week 7 - Video Poker, Treadmills, and Drones?

The big news for people who bike was moving the ConnectOregon bill, HB 2310, out of committee and securing an amendment to include bike/ped projects.  ConnectOregon is a "Multimodal Transportation Fund to invest in air, marine, rail, and public transit infrastructure improvements."  The omission of "small-m-modes" biking and walking infrastructure is a serious one and
a rectified bill is a priority for the Portland Bicycle Transportation Alliance.  About the move out of committee they said:
After months of conversations with partners, stakeholders, and lawmakers and tons of public input from grassroots supporters and community leaders we are thrilled to see this program move one step closer to expanding to include biking and walking.

We are grateful for the unanimous support of Committee members and look forward to continuing this important conversation as the bill now moves to Ways and Means.

One important note, this amendment does not dedicate any specific dollar amount to biking and walking. The amendment does open up the door to funds that we hope to grow to $100 million. The BTA will continue to work to ensure that the 2013 Oregon Legislature does commit dedicated funding to bicycle projects to help meet this growing community need.
Gazing towards the Video Poker
Left unstated is the source of funding:  video poker and other lottery games "for entertainment purposes only."  That we rely on this, that this is apparently the only available source of funding at the moment should make us all a little queasy, even if it is the only pragmatic solution just now.  According to the State, the "Big-M-Modes" of air, marine, rail, and transit have enjoyed
$100 million in lottery-backed revenue bonds to fund the program in each of the 2005-07, 2007-09, and 2009-11 biennia. An additional $40 million was authorized in 2011 for the 2011-13 biennium.
And biking and walking shouldn't be left out.

But relying on lottery dollars isn't probably very good policy.

The CRC has worked its way out of the system and into law, and since the action is now on the Washington side, short of big developments, there will be no more to say here on Bridge Mania.


Monday, March 25th, the Senate Committee On Business and Transportation will hold a public hearing on SB 756, which would permit specific donations to state Parks and Recreation for bike/ped trails. It will be at 3:00 PM in hearing room B.  At the same hearing will be SB 741, which requires helmet use during organized events, and SB 742, which raises the upper age for mandatory helmet use from 16 to 18.

Wednesday, March 27th, at 3pm in hearing room E, the House Committee On Transportation and Economic Development will hold a public hearing on HB 2453, which is a mileage tax on electric car and other gas-misers.

More updates after the jump.

Paying for the Roads
  • ConnectOregon V reform -  House Bill 2310 to fund "ConnectOregon" has moved out of committee after last week's hearing and will go to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.  As noted, the Portland BTA says amendments for bike/ped language have been adopted, but I see no amendments to the bill yet filed on the OLIS.   Presumably on Senate Bill 247 and House Bill 3348, which do include bike/ped language, there will be no further action.. 
  • Studded tires.  House Bills 2277, 2278, and 2397 would add fees to offset the damage studded tires cause. Hearing held, but still no amendments or further action.  I kinda thought there was some momentum on this, but at the moment it may be stalled.
  • Tax on Carbon: House Bill 2792  "Imposes tax on each fuel supplier and utility based on amount of carbon in carbon-based fuel that is sold by fuel supplier to consumers in state or that is used to produce carbon-generated electricity supplied by utility to consumers in state."  "Sustainable" City of Salem opposes this billNo action.  Also:  SB 537, HB 2874, HB 2497.  No action on these.
  •  House Joint Resolution 9 -"Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to allow revenue from taxes on motor vehicle fuel and ownership, operation or use of motor vehicles to be used for transportation projects that will prevent or reduce pollution and congestion created by use of motor vehicles."  No action.
  • House Bill 2276 would increase the gas tax.  No action.  
  • House Bill 2453 - "Requires persons operating certain high-mileage motor vehicles to pay per-mile road usage charge or flat annual road usage charge." Public hearing on Wednesday, the 27th.
  • House Bill 2500 looks to expand the "types of costs that qualify as approved transportation costs for purposes of State School Fund distributions."  These would include "Expenditures made to improve  safety for students traveling to school by means that are not provided by the school district and that:
    (i) Include walking or using a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or similar device..." Public hearing last week.  Still no amendments or other movement yet. (You can read testimony from the out-going chair of Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, ODOT Bike/Ped Manager Sheila Lyons, and others here.)
  • Senate Bill 756 would allow "Department of Transportation to accept donations to State Parks and Recreation Department Fund for purpose of improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Permits registered owner of vehicle to make donation to fund when registration is renewed."  Public hearing for Monday, the 25th.
  • Senate Bill 769 "Requires registration of bicycles. Imposes $10 registration fee. Creates offense of failure to register bicycle. Punishes by presumptive fine of $25. Provides exemptions. Creates offense of failure to ensure bicycle registration. Punishes by presumptive fine of $25. Provides exemptions. Creates offense of failure to report change of ownership or change of address to Department of Transportation. Punishes by presumptive fine of $25. Establishes Bicycle Transportation Improvement Fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to Department of Transportation for bicycle related transportation improvement projects."  No action. 
Road Safety (and "Safety")
  • Celphones, texting, and distracted driving - Senate Bill 9 filed by Senator Courtney would "increase the penalty [for using a cel phone while driving] from a Class D violation to a Class B violation, which means the maximum fine would increase from $250 to $1,000. The minimum fine would increase from $60 to $130."  The amendments were not clear last week, and they're still not clear this week.  Hopefully folks will chime in with some clarification.  I have no idea what this bill really means.  Senate Bill 294 would create an exception in existing law for taxi-cab drivers to use a hand-held celphone while driving. It passed the Senate and is in the House.  BikePortland has more.
  • House Bill 2732 is a ban on headphone while on bike and allows mopeds on multi-use paths.  No action.
  • Senate Bill 332 would establish a "Task  Force  on  Bicycle  Safety."  Senator Jackie Winters proposed this, and the bill as introduced is mostly procedural and otherwise content-free at the moment.  No action.  
  • Senate Bill 741 would require persons "of any age to wear helmet when using bicycle, skateboard, scooter, in-line skates or roller skates when participating in organized exhibition, competition or contest." Senate Bill 742 would require kids "under 18 years of age to wear protective headgear while operating or riding on bicycle, riding on skateboard or scooter or using in-line skates or roller skates, on public or private land." Hearings scheduled for Monday, the 25th.
  • House Bill 3320 would create a new residential speed limit of 20 mph.  No action.
  • House Bill 2115 would broaden the definition of intoxicating substances for the purposes of DUI citations.   A Public hearing was held on Thursday the 21st, and now a work session will be on Monday, the 25th.
  • HB 3047 would double the length of a motor vehicle license suspension from 10 to 20 years.  Hearing held, but no action or amendments yet.There is a work session now scheduled for Wednesday, April 3rd.
Other Stuff
  • House Bill 2338 "Creates Task Force on Extending the Westside Express Service Commuter Line to Salem."  I think this is dead.   Somewhere I read that because of the Oregon Passenger Rail study currently in process, it was felt this would have set in motion a redundant study.  
  • House Bill 2767 would appropriate money for a walking workstation pilot program.  This is a great idea, of course, but why not go further?  If you bike to work, you get exercise, you reduce road congestion and pollution, and you save money.  It's even better than using a treadmill!  It would be great to see a more robust incentive program to encourage State workers to ditch the car and add exercise to their daily life. 
  • Drones - Senate Bill 71. This isn't transportation, and it wasn't something relevant here, but it maybe became a bike story for a week.   In coverage at last week's hearing, Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Director Kenji Sugahara was highly visible. He offered testimony and, at least in the press, cited examples of drone use in filming races.  With big data and increasing surveillance capabilities by government and individuals and corporations, this is definitely something to watch. 

Salem STXC Aerial Footage from Oregon Bicycle Racing Assoc on Vimeo.

All of this year's legislative updates are tagged 2013 Legislative Session.


Anonymous said...

HJR 9 will have a hearing on Monday, the first!

Anonymous said...

BikePortland on SB 756

And everybody is discovering HJR 9 today!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...