Sunday, February 3, 2019

Legislative Update 1

Following bills at the Legislature has proved to be tedious and really requires a presence at the Legislature. Even with the transparency of the bill database, the committee process is opaque enough (by design!) and the gut-and-stuff common enough, that a weekly update on the progress of bills just isn't very meaningful or useful. (Also, most of the bills are fiddling on the edges of things, and rarely get to the heart of most matters.) So updates here will be very sporadic and haphazard this session.

Highways and Roads in the 1919 Legislative Session
(Wished we had more caricatures today!
via Murray Wade from January 31st, 1919)
And on the one issue that really matters more than anything, the Legislature's not yet serious enough.

Former Mayor at the new Seattle Tunnel ribbon-cutting
 - via twitter (The whole thread is on point)
Whatever might divide Rs and Ds, there's a monumental and wholly bipartisan commitment to autoism. We cannot impede MOAR DRIVING!

Oregon Global Warming Commission 2018 Biennial Report
About the Clean Energy Jobs bill, the Oregonian reports
But there is deep concern about the sticker shock that carbon pricing could bring at the fuel pump, particularly on top of the higher gas taxes Oregonians are already paying to fund the transportation package passed in 2017.

Fuel providers will pass this cost directly on to consumers, whose demand for gasoline is relatively inelastic.* For every dollar in allowance pricing per ton, it is estimated that gas prices will rise 1 cent per gallon. So, if allowances cost $15 per ton of emissions in 2021, gas prices would be 15 cents higher per gallon.

There was speculation that the transportation sector might be exempted from regulation initially, or that the emissions pricing would be phased in. But that’s not the case. Oil companies may be the only ones that didn’t get free allowances in the new bill.

This makes transportation the richest source of revenue in the bill, likely to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year that will be funneled in the state highway trust fund for projects that help decarbonize the sector, such as charging stations for electric vehicles or express lanes for public transit.
OPB also notes
The biggest segment of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions — 39 percent in 2016 — comes from transportation fuels. But while automobile fuel figures to account for much of the money the state takes in under cap and trade, aviation, watercraft and train fuel wouldn’t be subject to the program.
Wednesday the 6th is a Lobby Day for the greenhouse gas bill.

Willamette Week has details on a new attempt at an end-run around local control for the ride-hailing racket, which appears to be increasing VMT rather than decreasing it:
a copy of a draft bill obtained from city officials by WW would regulate the companies statewide.

It would also provide companies with exemptions "to a local governmental entity's regulation of the rates the transportation network company charges or to any other requirements the local governmental entity may impose as a condition of operation within the local governmental entity's jurisdiction."

City officials are trying to forestall the possibility of statewide stepping in to block Portland's rules, including requirements for insurance and background checks.
The Street Trust discussed their agenda and priorities. In addition to climate action and renter protection, under "Vision Zero," they highlight:
Rights to the Road (HB 2682) -­‐ Last year, a circuit judge in Bend ruled that bicycle lanes do not continue through intersections after a person on a bicycle was killed by a van taking a right turn. As a result, that person was not afforded the proper legal protections in court. We want to ensure that the law is clear that bike lanes continue through intersections.

Expand Driver Education – The Street Trust is joining with Families for Safe Streets to add pedestrian and cyclist safety education and testing as a requirement of driver’s license renewal. License renewal is a good opportunity to refresh driver knowledge on traffic infrastructure and laws. By consolidating the Oregon Bicycle Manual with the Oregon Driver’s Manual and including testing during license renewal, all users of the road will have better knowledge of safety practices.

Safe Speeds (HB 2702) -­‐ Speed limits should be set with the goal of increasing pedestrian, cyclist, and driver safety. The Street Trust supports giving cities jurisdiction to set speed limits to allow for context-­based speed limit decisions. In legislation that addresses speed limits, we want to see fair and equitable enforcement planning that does not disproportionately impact people of color and low-­income Oregonians. [As written the bill is not about "cities" in general, however; it is narrowly written for Portland only!]

Safe Routes to School (SB 561) -­‐ The Street Trust was a strong supporter of funding for the Safe Routes to School Infrastructure (SRTS) program in the 2017 session. The first Request for Proposals for the program received an enthusiastic response, and we want to see the funds be accessible for communities that need it most. The Street Trust supports the reduction of the match requirement for SRTS from 40% to 20% to reduce barriers in developing meaningful street safety programs.
Bills to protect renters and to end the exclusionary ban on missing middle housing also will have implications for transportation.

via twitter and Sightline
But all in all, two most important have seemed to be the Cap & Invest/Clean Energy Jobs bill and the bill to end the exclusionary ban on missing middle housing.

* This is not an obvious or uncontested point. VMT and gas prices look to be related, and it was the drop in gas prices in 2014 that broke the VMT plateau we had been on. See "The High Price of Cheap Gas" at City Observatory.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

BikePortland has notes on the bike lane continuation matter:

"Bend Judge Rules Bike Lane does not Continue through Intersection" and "Proposed bill would clarify definition of bike lanes in Oregon."

Anonymous said...

Re: "the ride-hailing racket"

Anonymous said...

Here's info on the "Missing Middle" housing bill -

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

BikePortland has notes on the Families for Safe Streets proposals, SB 746 and SB 747.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Couple more links...

BikePortland has an overview of bills they're tracking, and a report on a Hearing on scooters and helmets. The Oregonian has a note on deed restrictions and potential impact for legalizing missing middle housing.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The Street Trust published their recap, and there are important wins.

- HB 2682 on continuing bike lanes through the intersection
- SB 998 a version of the Idaho Stop
- HB 2007 for cleaner diesel trucks
- and of course big, structural wins on rent stabilization and middle housing
- the TNC end-run bill failed

But greenhouse gas pollution, urban speed zone reduction, improved drivers license testing, and easier Safe Routes funding all were left undone.