Reflecting on Yesterday’s JPACT Vote

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen multiple twitter streams covering a Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) meeting!

For those of you who haven’t been following the blow-by-blow, freight interests in the region banded together, hired a PR agency to brand their efforts, and made an attempt to shift a significant portion of discretionary transportation funds from active transportation (bike and pedestrian projects) in the name of aiding the economy.

By a narrow 7-6 vote, active transportation funding was preserved. Here’s how the votes broke down (you can read additional coverage at BikePortland.org):

Yes

  • Harrington, Metro Council
  • Burkholder, Metro Council
  • Fish, City of Portland
  • Stuart, Clark County
  • Burkman, City of Vancouver
  • McFarlane, TriMet
  • Kafouri, Multnomah County

No

  • Bill Wyatt, Port of Portland
  • Craig Dirksen, Mayor of Tigard
  • Jason Tell, ODOT Region 1 Director
  • Roy Rogers, Washington County Commissioner
  • Ann Lininger, Clackamas County Commissioner
  • Shirley Craddick, Gresham City Councilor

Abstain

  • DeConcini, DEQ
  • Wagner, WSDOT
  • Jordan , Cities of Clackamas County
  • Collette, Metro Council (JPACT Chair)

Here are some observations on this turn of events:

  • During a down economy, making any kind of linkage to jobs is very powerful – how do we make this connection for bike and pedestrian projects?
  • Two representatives from the Washington side of the river, where this money will NOT be spent, were critical to the winning majority.
  • Shirley Craddick will be joining the Metro Council in January, replacing Rod Park (I served with Shirely on MPAC, and respect her very much, but disagree on this vote).
  • The representatives from Metro, elected regionally, continue to be more progressive on active transportation than local government officials – making me suspect that our region would not have progressed as far as we have without our unique elected regional government.
  • The non-elected governments (TriMet and the Port of Portland) split their vote – it was good to see the new TriMet General Manager, Neil McFarlane voting for active transportation.
  • If City Club’s recommendations for reform of JPACT’s membership were followed, I’m not sure how this vote would have gone – under the suggested proportional voting by population, Portland and Multnomah County would have had more sway, but the Washington State and TriMet votes would not have existed (nor would the No votes from the Port and ODOT).

Fascinating…

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