February 19, 2009
Updated: How to Spend $260M
1000 Friends has issued an Action Alert on this.
Meanwhile, Rex Burkholder has sent a letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission (PDF, 86K) on behalf of JPACT, pushing for more collaboration and a greater allocation to metropolitan areas.
Original Post: 2/17/09
As we've previously discussed, ODOT will get about $350M from the federal stimulus bill. About $90M of that will be distributed by formula to cities and counties (we've noted that Metro area governments will get about $33M).
That leaves $260M over which ODOT and the Governor have an unusual amount of discretion. State ODOT revenue is subject to constitutional limitations on gas taxes, restricting use to the right-of-way.
Not so with this $260M (and the local $90M). It can be used much more broadly, including transit and pedestrian projects.
A group of environmental organizations is already gearing up, trying to make sure that this money doesn't just get spent by habit on roads. Here's their letter to the Governor (PDF, 183K).
Stand by, I'm sure we're going to discuss this a lot more...
February 18, 2009 11:35 PM
I'd like to see a balance plan. How about 5% for pedestrian, 5% for bikes. They have lower weights, and less ROW demands, as well as benefit from the next 30%: transit. This way we can accelerate projects like the streetcar, Amtrak through the Valley, MAX, bus replacement, etc.
60% is left over, split to 30% for county/local roads and bridges. The other 30% goes to state and federal roads and bridges.
Maybe the percentages can be shifted around a little.
6/6/28/28/28 is fine by me also, or 7.5/7.5/35/25/25, but let's just find something to agree on and get things moving.
February 19, 2009 12:34 PM
al m Says:
Transit is being cut to shreds, who cares about transit right?
Only low life uses transit anyway, isn't that what everybody thinks?
This bailout is [EXPLETIVE DELETED]
(saving Bob R time)
February 19, 2009 2:23 PM
Terry Parker Says:
All the dollars need to go to reducing maintenance backlogs such as repaving streets and roads, and repairing and painting bridges. There should be no money spent on new infrastructure if we can not afford to maintain what is already in place. Moreover, no dollars at all ought to be spent on bicycle infrastructure until bicyclists are directly taxed to contribute local match dollars and pay for up keep.
February 19, 2009 3:50 PM
Jeff F Says:
Like someone else commented, Terry, you start out making sense (about infrastructure) and then you just have to haul out your hobby horse and start whacking it. Bicycle infrastructure is a teeny tiny percentage of proposed expenses. Give it a rest.
February 19, 2009 7:44 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
ODOT: Come up with $260 million in REPAIRS that are backlogged.
Nothing new. No new lane-miles, no new left turn lanes, no new roads, no new airport runways or taxiways, no new bike paths, no new sidewalks. (But, it's perfectly OK to fix bike paths or sidewalks in bad repair, of which there are plenty of.)
There's no reason to play "pet project" since all of the "pets" will get their own share of stimulus money. TriMet has its own share, so ODOT doesn't need to act as the money changer.
February 19, 2009 8:26 PM
Terry Parker:All the dollars need to go to reducing maintenance backlogs such as repaving streets and roads, and repairing and painting bridges. There should be no money spent on new infrastructure if we can not afford to maintain what is already in place. Moreover, no dollars at all ought to be spent on bicycle infrastructure until bicyclists are directly taxed to contribute local match dollars and pay for up keep.
ws: Local street improvements are done all the time through general tax funds (major streets improvement programs). If general funds go to automobiles, it is unreasonable to think that general funds can't go to bikes.
Now if you acknowledge that each mode pay their "fair share", then I would agree with you.
February 20, 2009 1:18 PM
Terry Parker Says:
To my point “no dollars at all ought to be spent on bicycle infrastructure until bicyclists are directly taxed to contribute local match dollars and pay for up keep."
In addition to motorists that pay fuel taxes, license and registration fees to use the roads, bicyclists use roads too, but with a free pass. Therefore spending the stimulus dollars for road and bridge maintenance gives more bang for the buck affecting a broad spectrum of vehicle modes.
On the opposite hand, Metro wants to spend some of the stimulus dollars to construct a lighted bicycle path somewhere near Clackamas Town Center. Without creating a dedicated funding source directly from the bicyclists that would use the path, such as a bicycle tax, to pay the electricity bills for the lighting, and to pay for cleaning and other maintenance of the path, the construction of this lighted path would only add more to the ongoing debt to transportation budgets. Since bicyclists currently do not directly contribute dollars to transportation budgets, stimulus dollars should not be used to increase this kind of ongoing debt without a direct ongoing financial contribution directly from the mode users of the path.