NEWS RELEASE: Oregon Legislature Reveals Transportation Funding Package

Good news for transportation options

This week Oregon legislators unveiled the framework for a transportation funding package that begins to answer our state’s glaring need for innovative solutions to keep people and goods moving safely and efficiently.

The Transportation for Oregon’s Future coalition commends members of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization for countless hours of work to understand Oregonians’ transportation needs and to develop a comprehensive multimodal response. This legislation, paired with parallel legislation to incentivize the purchase of electric cars and buses, will move Oregon forward. (Watch Monday’s meeting. View the presentation.)

“If these solutions become law, Oregon will be a healthier, safer place to live with less pollution,” said Chris Hagerbaumer, Deputy Director, Oregon Environmental Council. “We are especially pleased that key legislators recognize we can’t build our way out of congestion — that the lasting solutions to congestion are more transportation options and better management of our existing roadways.”

“Every child in Oregon deserves a safe route to school,” said Gerik Kransky, Policy Director, The Street Trust. “We are happy to see an initial transportation package that includes funding for trails and safe places to walk and bike.”

“We need more mass transit now,” said Maria Hernandez, Advocacy Coordinator, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon. “Low income communities of color demanded these investments, and finally the legislature listened.”

“Transportation makes up over a third of all climate pollution in Oregon,” David Van’t Hof, Acting State Director, Climate Solutions. “By prioritizing reliable transportation options, we get people where they need to go while reducing greenhouse gases.”

“The package will fund transit in communities of every size across Oregon, and provide key connections between rural towns and cities,” said Mary Kyle McCurdy, Deputy Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon. “The legislature heard that whether one lives in Baker City, Salem, or Coos Bay, Oregonians want transit service in their community.”

“We need a forward-looking transportation package that invests in transit options, reduces pollution, and looks ahead to the future of transportation, not the past. This a big step toward those goals,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director, Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

What’s next:

Transportation for Oregon’s Future will weigh in over the coming weeks as the details of the package — such as how the cost burden is shared — are developed. We will work to ensure the package moves beyond the old highways-­focused approach and focuses investments in a modern, connected transportation system with safe, affordable, clean and healthy options for everyone.

For a full list of coalition priorities visit: oeconline.org/transport4OR #transport4OR

About Transportation for Oregon’s Future:

Transportation for Oregon’s Future is a network of concerned organizations, businesses, and community leaders supporting transportation choices for the 21st century.

Steering committee members include: 1000 1000 Friends of Oregon, Better Eugene Springfield Transit (BEST), OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), The Street Trust (formerly BTA), Transportation for America.

For a full list of partners, visit: oeconline.org/transport4OR

Members of the media with questions, contact:
Amy Lewin, Oregon Environmental Council
Shawn Fleek, OPAL Environmental Justice
Kate Walker, The Street Trust


2 Replies to "NEWS RELEASE: Oregon Legislature Reveals Transportation Funding Package"

  • Donna Fuska
    May 12, 2017 (12:23 am)
    Reply

    While I agree on the dire need for investment in public transit and maintaining existing transit and road infrastructure, I don’t understand how OEC and the partner groups can be cheering this plan. What’s being proposed is VERY heavy on the most environmentally-damaging proposals–highway widening in particular–which will dwarf the financial commitment to transit and bike-ped investment. Where are the “game-changing” investments in transit we truly need?

    I can see the benefit to eliminating bottlenecks in places like I-5 through the Rose Quarter, because they result in so much idling. But widening long stretches of freeways, for hundreds of millions of dollars? Really? How can OEC, for example, support a plan that calls for widening I-5 between Salem and Eugene, when for far less $$ we could actually create frequent (5-6 trains/day) Amtrak service on a dramatically faster, improved rail line from Portland to Salem to Eugene, which would remove thousands of cars from I-5 and reduce auto traffic?

    I have to say I am not impressed by this plan, which seems to represent an embrace of the “business-as-usual,” fossil-fuel intensive model that is killing our climate.

    • admin
      May 12, 2017 (9:38 pm)
      Reply

      Thanks, Donna, for your comments. OEC agrees that the package must reduce pollution, not add to it, and that too much new road capacity could dwarf the positive elements in the package. Please rest assured that we have been making that point all along to legislators. Here’s more context: ​1st, on Monday this week, the transportation committee revealed the framework for the package, essentially the main components under consideration. Now the committee is hashing out what elements will actually be written up in the bill. Some will be included, others won’t. We are asking members of the public to weigh in now to applaud legislators who — for the first time — are really taking the need for transit funding and bike/ped funding seriously. If those elements drop out and the package still passes, that would ​be​ the worst​-​case scenario. ​2nd, although it’s not clear in slides from Monday’s hearing, the ​highway ​projects ​that are mapped won’t all be funded. For example, this package does not propose to widen I-5 between Salem and Eugene. ​3rd, another exciting proposal ​is ​to apply congestion pricing and other active transportation management in the ​Portland ​metro area so that roadways are managed, which is really the only way to effectively tackle congestion over the long run. ​4th, the proposal also calls for increased authority for the Oregon Transportation Commission to oversee ODOT and to use better criteria to select future projects. So​​ the reason we’re more positive than negative right now is that there are number of ​strong proposals and we see a path to a ​good package. Of course things can turn on a dime, so stay tuned!


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