Transportation Options

One in four Oregonians can’t drive due to age or disability. Many others can’t afford a car. And most of us want more transportation options so that not every trip has to be behind the wheel of an automobile.

Oregon Environmental Council advances alternatives to driving alone. We helped forward policies that cleared the way for innovative car-sharing programs and for pay-as-you-drive insurance, which rewards drivers who put fewer miles on their car. Most recently, we worked with our allies to influence the transportation package passed by the 2017 state legislature, winning:

✓ A first-time, significant, dedicated source of funding for public transit all across the state (>$1 billion over 10 years), which was amended in 2018 to require that at least 1% be spent on youth-oriented transit

✓ Greater investment in walking and bicycling options (>$137 million over 10 years)

We are now working to ensure that these new funds are utilized wisely, especially to support historically underserved communities.* This funding will enhance not only urban transit, but also provide for new and expanded service in rural areas, along with improved intercity connections.

Oregon Environmental Council supports passenger rail, like the Amtrak Cascades. Rail encourages efficient regional land use patterns, preserving downtown economies and easing the pressure to pour more concrete for roads or airport runways.

Oregon Environmental Council also advocates for “complete communities”—places where neighbors can easily access daily destinations like grocery stores, schools and parks within 20 minutes by foot or bicycle.

* Some neighborhoods in Oregon suffer from historic underinvestment in transportation options. For example, a 2014 study by Governing found that the pedestrian death rate in the Portland metro area is 2.3 times greater in higher poverty areas. This is due in large part to a lack of investment in sidewalks and safe pedestrian crossings in those neighborhoods. And good transportation options are just as important in rural Oregon where rural residents spend more of their income on transportation. We believe better public transit across the state can help.