Saturday, March 28, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 11: The diff between 99 and 98%

No new business, as best as I can tell.

About increasing the allocation to 2% for Bike/Ped projects as required in the Bike Bill, the City of Salem had this official stance:
Currently, the city sets aside 1% of our State Highway Fund allocation for bike/pedestrian projects or maintenance. Increasing the amount to 2% would increase the set-aside from about $65,000 per year to $130,000. This is not a problem if our funding levels stay the same or get better, but could be a problem if General Fund support (W/WW Franchise fees) were to be reduced in any way. HB 2120 calls for the percentage to increase to 1.5%, which we would prefer.
In a hearing on Wednesday that discussed HB 2971, one of several bills that calls for the increase to 2%, Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) and Rep. Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill) asked about structuring the contribution so it was not dedicated to bike/ped projects but could be left to county or municipal discretion to serve whatever needs the community prioritized the highest.

Weidner also asked those who testified repeatedly about bicycle registration & licensing. Rep. Michael Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), who was actually one of the sponsors of HB 3008, said nothing, but Weidner kept returning to the issue.

Committee members mostly talked about bike/ped projects as "transportation enhancement," underscoring the notion that bicycles were frills, nice extras, but not core parts of the transportation infrastructure. There's little talk about climate change, peak oil, congestion relief, or of the prevailing assumption that the roads belong to exclusively autoists, with others patiently suffered.

Additionally, the League of Oregon Cities & League of Oregon Counties both expressed concern about stand-alone bills. They seem to think that portions with increased taxes or fees will get referred to voters, and they'd hate to see the spending side retained. They want everything bundled for up or down votes. So they want to see everything packaged as the Jobs and Transportation Act, HB 2120.

Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
Senate Bill 635 - no change

House Bill 2106 - no change
House Bill 2120 - no change (but there must be more hearings scheduled)
House Bill 2681 - Work Session on March 25 postponed
House Bill 2690 - Work Session for some point in April, as I understand it - no details posted yet, however
House Bill 2902 - no change
House Bill 2946 - no change
House Bill 2971 - March 25 hearing held
House Bill 3008 - no change
House Bill 3137 - no change
House Bill 3164 - no change
House Bill 3399 - Hearing and Work Session scheduled for April 3.

Details on Public Hearing for HB 3399, the vehicular homicide bill:
Date: Friday-April 3
Time: 1:00 P.M.
Room: 357

Public Hearing and Work Session
HB 3271 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 3194 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 3295 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 2349 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 3399 FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Creates crime of vehicular homicide.

Work Session
HB 2972 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 2968 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 2554 Modifies definition of "vulnerable user of a public way." [this is a small housekeeping bill, and doesn't alter the bill in any significant way for bicyclists].

Staff respectfully requests that you submit 25 collated copies of written materials at the time of your testimony. Persons making presentations including the use of video, DVD, PowerPoint or overhead projection equipment are asked to contact committee staff 24 hours prior to the meeting. Any item on this agenda may be carried over to the next meeting at the discretion of the Chair.

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