Archive | March, 2007

Milwaukie LRT in Co-chairs’ Budget

Things are looking up for Milwaukie LRT. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the $250 requested from the State (from Lottery bonds) for the project is included in the co-chairs’ budget.

The Connect Oregon 2 program is also in the budget.

“There are two key investments we’re proposing,” Rep. Mary Nolan, D-Portland and co-chair of the joint Ways and Means committee said, “subject to the whole deliberative procedure.”

Included in the $15.3 billion budget for the state’s general fund and lottery fund in 2007 to 2009, was the proposed $100 million ConnectOregon 2 multimodal transportation funding package.

The lottery-bond-backed transportation package comes on the heels of the $100 million ConnectOregon package passed by the 2005 Legislature for aviation, rail, transit, and marine infrastructure.

The $250 million Milwaukie light rail project also received an official nod from the co-chairs for lottery-backed bonds slated for 2009 to 2011.

Rental Bikes vs. Advertising

The City of Portland has been exploring the idea of a rental bike system along the lines of those found in may European cities (see the excellent coverage at BikePortland.org).

In Saturday’s O, Anna Griffin explores the funding implications. In Europe, the programs typically include a lot of display advertising which helps underwrite the costs. That probably won’t fly here in Portland where we tend to try to avoid visual advertising clutter. So do we make up the difference with higher rental rates, government subsidies, or … ?

One question I’m interested in is whether the rentals would be one-way or round-trip (i.e., do you have to return the bike at the place where you rented it, or can you return it at any of the kiosks in the system). I don’t see this called out in the RFP. I think a one-way system would be much more useful.

Cost of Congestion Goes Statewide

The Portland Business Alliance and Oregon Business Council have release a statewide version of the Cost of Congestion study. I haven’t found an online version yet, but according to the coverage (DJC, Trib, O), the pitch is for $350M from the legislature this session (presumably that’s just the beginning) to help fund projects that would provide travel time savings amounting to $1.7B annually.

Senate Transportation Committee Chair Rick Metsger is a little more subdued. He’s proposing a license plate fee increase that would raise about $200M.

The O jumps on the bandwagon Sunday with an editorial (“Step on it, Oregon”) that makes it clear, this is about reliable truck travel.

So when will we adopt policy that gives trucks priority over SOVs on existing facilities?

CRC Alternatives in the Trib

Friday’s Trib notes that the task force committee working on a “mid-range” alternative for the Columbia River Crossing will wrap up its work today on a supplemental bridge proposal.

A more exciting idea in the same issue is Jim Howell’s opinion piece that High Capacity Transit (read Light Rail) could shoulder much of the capacity demands. Jim points to the other Vancouver for an example of how this was done successfully.