Sunday, February 10, 2013

Legislative Update, Week 1 - Bridge Mania

Standard Oil Monopoly, 1904. Detail:   Library of Congress

Are there tentacles here too?
Monday brings a big committee meeting on the Columbia River Crossing, Portland's $4 Billion Bridge and Highway proposal - the Dr. Evil up north to Salem's Mini-Me SRC?  Is it the start of the showdown?

The "Joint Committee on Interstate-5 Bridge Replacement Project" meets at 3pm on Monday in Hearing Room F.  Here's a facebook page for CRC opponents and organizing attendance.  As Willamette Week points out, the committee is stacked with newbies who seem less likely to buck legislative leaders.  The deck looks pretty stacked.  It will consider HB 2800.

On the other hand, both Clark County and Clackamas County are seriously considering resolutions in opposition to the CRC.  Folks are beginning to see that these mega projects also threaten to suck up all the monies for transportation statewide - and are coming around to the common-sense notion that the ability to carry out several smaller projects might very well be preferable, more effective and more nimble, to one ginormous charliefoxtrot.

Things are heating up.

There's also a Tuesday hearing on Senator Courtney's bill to increase the penalties for driving while talking/texting.

Other bills are mostly sitting chill in committee. More detailed updates after the jump.

Bridge Mania
  • House Bill 2800 and House Bill 2260.  2260 has no committee meetings planned, so maybe 2800 is the main one - though 2260 could be gutted-and-stuffed.  (OLIS, the new "legislative information system" on HB2800, HB2260 - between this post and the next I'll transition to that system for links)
  • Representative Greenlick has also sponsored House Bill 2690, which would stop spending on the CRC.  No action.  (OLIS - HB2690)
Paying for the Roads
  •  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." Referred to Transportation and Economic Development committee.
  • House Bill 2276 would increase the gas tax.  No action.   (City Council's Legislative Committee proposes to oppose any increase to the gas tax.)
  • House Bill 2453 - "Requires persons operating certain high-mileage motor vehicles to pay per-mile road usage charge or flat annual road usage charge." No action.  (OLIS - HB2453)
  • 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..." No action. (OLIS - HB2500)
  • Senate Bill 247 would use lottery funds and creates an "Alternative Mode Transportation Fund. Requires that nine percent of net proceeds from Oregon State Lottery be deposited in Multimodal Transportation Fund, and that nine percent of net proceeds be deposited in Alternative Mode Transportation Fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in Alternative Mode Transportation Fund to Department of Transportation. Provides that moneys may only be used for capital improvements and operational costs of mass transit, passenger rail, bicycle and pedestrian projects." No action (OLIS - SB247)
  • Studded tires.  House Bills 2277, 2278, and 2397 would add fees to offset the damage studded tires cause. No action on any.
Road Safety (and "Safety")
  • 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." SB9 has a hearing on Tuesday the 12th at 8:30am in HR 343 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Bike Headphone ban and mopeds on multi-use paths.  HB 2732 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.
  • House Bill 2115 would broaden the definition of intoxicating substances for the purposes of DUI citations.   No action.
All of this year's legislative updates are tagged 2013 Legislative Session.


Curt said...

One of the anti-CRC FB pages reported that the Clackamas Co. res. failed. Bugger!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...


Still, the Green Tea Alliance is up and at it.

Over at BlueOregon, a former Executive Director of the BTA, Evan Manvel, writes about cost-overruns and other boondogglery.

Manvel adds that in addition to the Highway 20 Eddyville fiasco, "ODOT’s most recent completed large project, the Grand Avenue Viaduct in Portland, came in at $98 million, more than three times its $31 million budget. The Newberg-Dundee Bypass has seen its cost projections nearly quadruple, and remains un-built."

Over at Americans for Prosperity, they make a similar argument about the boondoggle.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The green tea gets stronger!

Portland Transport has an update on a new coalition.

"Coalition leaders include: John Charles (President, Cascade Policy Institute), Steve Cole (Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods), Karla Kay Edwards (Director, Americans for Prosperity-Oregon), Mara Gross (Coalition for A Livable Future) and Jason Williams (Oregon Taxpayer Association)."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Also, if you're on twitter, the best tweets during the hearing were from House Republican Deputy Leader Julie Parrish. You can follow her here.