Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prospects for State Transportation Bill in 2015 Increase with Election

League of Oregon Cities on Transportation
November 2014 Newsletter
Majorities in the State House and Senate got a tiny bit bigger in the 2014 election and that means prospects grew for a meaningful transportation package at the 2015 Legislative Session.

(It is interesting that Oregon bucked some national trends on this - but you will have your own preferred sources for commentary on the national elections and any partisan significance! In any case, our local candidate who called bike lanes "fringe things" was defeated.)

Here it's enough just to register that the party pushing the giant Columbia River Crossing is also the party likely to give us a modest increase in the gas tax. (Nothing is simple here: There are costs and there are benefits - lots of grey middle zone.)

More generally, reliable funding will be a key part of a State transportation bill, whose path will be smoothed by party alignment between House, Senate, and Governor.

And with luck, the needs of city streets rather than expansion for highways, as well as preservation and maintenance, will lead.

Proposed Transportation Funding Package:
League of Oregon Cities
It seems likely that more and more attention will be devoted to building urban systems that create genuine and realistic choices in mobility.

More talk of choices
League of Oregon Cities
Interestingly, the League of Cities newsletter and agenda cited here doesn't include any meaningful language about the need for seismic retrofits on bridges - many of which are inside of cities even if they are also owned by counties or the State.

That also is going to be big at the Legislature early next year.

So there will be much more to say as the Legislative session approaches!

(BikePortland drills into some of the races and politics if you're interested.)


Laurie Dougherty said...

I didn't know there was a League of Oregon Cities. Interesting newsletter. Hope you're right about improved funding for alternative transportation.

Massachusetts just passed a ballot measure that pushed back an automatic inflation increase for its gas tax. Livable Streets Alliance, a Greater Boston advocacy group for biking, walking and public transit which actively opposed the measure, claims that it "will eliminate $1 billion over the next ten years to spend on transportation projects across the state to keep our roads and bridges safe and to invest in public transportation."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(Maybe I should have mentioned this...because the City of Salem doesn't have its own lobbyist and City employees are not permitted to lobby, I believe the City uses the LOC and its policy positions for the City's own "Legislative Positions," and does lobbying through the LOC's own lobbyist.

This July note on Council contains a bit towards the end on the transportation items when they were being developed.)

Anonymous said...

Bike Portland has a piece on a different group also aligned on more funding and a gas tax increase -