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          Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 18th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

          During a speech at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem
          yesterday, PBOT Director Tom Miller got advocates up to speed on the
          funding crisis at the agency and organizational changes they've made
          that could reap benefits for bicycling. In addition, Miller made the
          unexpected announcement that PBOT will soon roll out a formal 10%
          bike mode split goal, a step in accountability he says is unprecedented.

          Miller said PBOT is being forced to adapt and change due to a "crisis
          in transportation" that revolves around funding. He said Portland has a
          21st century transportation vision they are trying to carry out with a
          20th century funding model.
                                                                                          Director of PBOT, Tom Miller, at the
          "Therein lies the challenge," he explained. "We know what we want to           Oregon Active Transportation Summit.
          be doing, we know how to do it, and we are well on our way, we just
          lack the funding stability."

          "We're going to tell you how we're going to get there [to 10% bike use]. That's new. PBOT's never done that before."
          — Tom Miller

          The problem is (as many of you already know) an over-reliance on state gas tax revenue. But not everyone believes that
          line. Perhaps answering to critics that say PBOT is to blame for its financial problems because they committed to major
          expenditures (like the Sellwood Bridge, sidewalks, and the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project) whose bills are now
          coming due, Miller explained they based those decisions on ODOT projections that are vastly lower than expected.



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BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » At Summit, PBOT Director annou...        http://bikeportland.org/2012/04/18/at-summit-pbot-director-announces...


          ODOT raised the gas tax six cents per gallon in 2009 (the first increase since 1993). After doing so, they estimated the
          City of Portland would bring in about $300 million in new revenue. But in 2011, Miller explained, "the numbers came
          back at $174 million — 58% of what was anticipated."

          "That over-reliance of gas tax revenue is exacerbated in Portland," Miller continued, "because we've been successful in
          what we're trying to do [getting people to drive less]."

          In response to this new funding reality, Miller says PBOT is "making some fundamental changes to how we do business
          to right-size expenditures with revenue projections."

          "Council has told us they want to create conditions for 25% bike mode share... This is an opportunity for PBOT,
          community stakeholders, and council to reaffirm that commitment."

          One of those changes is to "reform" the much-heralded Transportation Options Division (the folks that do SmartTrips,
          Sunday Parkways, pass out bike maps, and so on). Beginning July 1 of this year (first day of PBOT's new fiscal year),
          they will morph that into a new Active Transportation group that Miller hopes is, "the most effective active transportation
          group of any municipality in this nation." (Read more of our reporting on these changes here.)

          Miller said this new group within PBOT will lead to a "more concerted focus on bicycling and walking" and that he's not
          doing it only because those are the "right modes to focus on," but because "they are incredibly cost-effective."

          To demonstrate to the public that PBOT should focus even more on biking and walking, he said he's working on a fact
          sheet that will explain the costs related to the infrastructure it takes to move a person one mile in a private motor vehicle
          versus the same infrastructure required to move that person one mile with a bike or on foot.

          Even with data, Miller realizes any renewed approach to finding new revenue for biking at the agency will be
          controversial, so he said he'll fall back on Portland's adopted goal of 25% bike mode split by 2030. While that goal is
          ambitious, Miller feels that to actually achieve it, PBOT must set shorter-term goals and allow the public to track their
          progress.

          With that, Miller announced, "We're going to roll out a 10% mode split goal."

          Using the term, "universal accountability," Miller said the idea is to allow the public to "hold elected leadership
          accountable" for progress toward the goals they've set.

          "We're going to tell you how we're going to get there [to 10% bike use]. That's new. PBOT's never done that before."

          Along with the 10% goal, Miller says PBOT will release a fixed timeline and a scope of projects to get there. "Why am I
          focused on that?," he added, "Accountability, rigor, discipline, and transparency."

          According to Miller, he wants the public — and especially bike advocates — to be able to easily track the City's
          performance and hold PBOT and elected officials accountable. "If the funding is there, and you know the engineering
          expertise is there... The only thing we lack is political will." With public awareness of the steps Miller wants to take to get
          to 10% bike mode share, he's hoping that advocates can mobilize the community and create the political breathing space
          needed for what he refers to as the "tough decisions" and "tough calls that need to be made," to successfully, "march along
          the path to that long-term 25% goal."

          Reached for more details today, Miller said the 10% initiative would be developed by the new Active Transportation
          group and that it will be rolling out later this year. Ultimately, the policy will be adopted by City Council. "Council has
          told us they want to create conditions for 25% bike mode share... This is an opportunity for PBOT, community
          stakeholders, and council to reaffirm that commitment."

          In terms of where the money will come from, Miller said PBOT will work to identify new revenue streams. Re-allocating
          existing revenues is not being considered.




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          Posted on April 18th, 2012 at 12:58 pm. Filed under Front Page, News and tagged with , Oregon Active Transportation Summit, tom miller. You can
          skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

          Possibly related posts

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          Comments




                 NF April 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

                 Maybe I missed it, but did Mr. Miller provide a timeline for hitting this 10% mode share?

                 Recommended            1


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                         Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

                         The "fixed timeline" Miller references in the story is to be determined. It will be released when the 10%
                         initiative is formalized and released by the new Active Trans group, which Miller said will happen "this
                         calendar year."

                         stay tuned!

                         Recommended            3


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BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » At Summit, PBOT Director annou...       http://bikeportland.org/2012/04/18/at-summit-pbot-director-announces...




               9watts April 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm

               Take that Ms. Slovic!
               ...not doing it only because those are the "right modes to focus on," but because "they are incredibly cost-effective."

               Best news I've heard in a long while from a transportation official.
               Thanks so much for your excellent reporting, Jonathan.

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               Andrew K April 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm

               This sounds quite promising.

               My perspective of Government typically isn't to get upset when mistakes get made. We're human, we learn new
               things, public perception changes, etc. etc.

               However, what really gets under my skin is when Government doesn't admit there is a problem and isn't nimble
               enough to change course. Reading this was refreshing and makes me feel optimistic for our city.

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               RyNO Dan April 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

               Bike mode split from 6 to 10% ? Peanuts.
               The bike mode split does not matter.
               What really matters is the non-somv commuter mode split.
               We should be shooting for 75%.

               Recommended         4


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               A.K. April 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

               It's interesting that the gas tax is so hard to raise.

               Is it pushback from the transportation industry, such as trucking firms, cab drivers, etc.? Or is it outrage from
               individuals?

               I just don't understand why it is politically so hard to raise it. Make it something like a 2 cent a year automatic
               increase, and no one will feel it. Better than big jumps once every 15 years.

               With what I drove last year, an additional 2 cents would cost me an increase of just about $10.00 over the course of
               the year. That is peanuts, especially given that gas costs nearly $4.00 a gallon now. Even the most cash-strapped
               person who drives could afford that.




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               Jeffrey Bernards April 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

               ODOT & PDOT complain that the gas tax isn't keeping up. Really? I bet if we had a "realistic cost" gas tax like
               Europe at $3.50 a gallon there would be no shortage of transportation money. It's the gas tax backlash that
               politicians are afraid of, I think they all know it has to be raised.

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                     9watts April 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

                     Hear, hear. Maybe the politicians are afraid of discovering they don't have any backbone?
                     Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?
                     Suppose they raised the gas tax and nobody voted that politician out of office?

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               nate April 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm

                     A.K.
                     It's interesting that the gas tax is so hard to raise.
                     Is it pushback from the transportation industry, such as trucking firms, cab drivers, etc.? Or is it outrage
                     from individuals?
                     I just don't understand why it is politically so hard to raise it. Make it something like a 2 cent a year
                     automatic increase...P>

                     Recommended 1

               Or perhaps adjust the gas tax up or down quarterly (or monthly!) based on what is required to match the revenue
               needed (for approved maintenance) for the following period. In this manner, it (gas tax) would be adjusted to match
               the previous and projected short term trends in ridership of public transporation (which is what we want), increases
               in gas mileage (which is also what we want), and fewer drivers; as boomers begin to retire in droves (which is what
               we've inherited). If only we had a crystal ball for gas use and Salem could work that fast (sigh).

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                     Evan Manvel April 19, 2012 at 8:50 am

                     Last time the voters voted on a gas tax increase (in May 2000), voters turned it down 88-12%.

                     Hence, legislators are loathe to pass something that's incredibly unpopular, especially if it doesn't meet the
                     needs of interests who have enough funds to refer the measure to the people (a double-whammy of not
                     getting what you want and reminding voters that you supported something they don't like).

                     Talk to the average voter and they'll likely think that there's a lot of waste in the transportation funding world,
                     and the problem isn't a lack of money but a wasteful pattern of spending it. And it's easy to find anecdotal


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                     evidence of waste, like, um, the $4,000,000,000+ CRC mega-highway.

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                           9watts April 19, 2012 at 8:58 am

                           Interesting polling numbers, Evan. And yet it was raised in 2009. How to explain that? Perhaps the poll
                           question was worded poorly? Perhaps explicitly referencing inflation, highway maintenance costs, etc.
                           in such a future question would yield different results.

                           No matter what the specific shortcomings of the past, our approach to taxing fuel in this country and
                           state and town is obsolete and ruinous.

                           If it takes an education campaign to explain to voters how the tax is inadequate, demonstrate
                           accountability in spending, or whatever, this is an issue that we could use some bold leadership on.

                           Recommended       0


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                                 Evan Manvel April 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

                                 To be clear, the 2000 numbers aren't poll numbers - they're election numbers. I haven't seen a
                                 way to phrase gas tax increases to make them palatable (though I agree with the arguments, most
                                 voters don't).

                                 The 2009 gas tax package was very interesting. What happened is they included very specific
                                 earmarks to get specific legislative votes. A general gas tax increase wouldn't have passed. So
                                 unlike the general agreement through Oregon history (legislature raises money, OTC and ODOT
                                 have a process to select projects), the legislature created a pork package with specific projects.

                                 When the package came down, who came to testify? ADEC, a major conservative donor, who
                                 was excited about the $100+ million for Newberg-Dundee bypass. Who else benefited? A big
                                 highway in Southern Oregon near Jeld-Wen, another major conservative donor.

                                 And they promised Portland democrats that none of the funding would go to the CRC
                                 mega-highway. So they managed to get the votes of conservatives who got highways in their
                                 districts, highways that benefit major anti-tax donors who would otherwise fund a referendum,
                                 and democratic votes from those who know we need more funding overall.

                                 The environmentalists chose not to spend $400,000 or so needed to refer it to the ballot, and
                                 ended up getting a bill connecting global warming and transportation investments, whose
                                 implementation we're just seeing now.

                                 My two cents on what happened. If anyone had taken it to the ballot, voters would have voted it
                                 down in a landslide.

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                                        9watts April 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

                                        Fascinating (and creepy). Thanks for that background, Evan.

                                        Also funny/tragic how this matter is handled so much better in most other overdeveloped
                                        countries.



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               was carless April 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

               What mode split are we at now?

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                     matt picio April 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

                     5%-7%, depending on whose numbers you believe. A 10% mode share represents at least 50% growth over
                     current numbers. I'd like to see that happen, and if Adams' successor (and the new council) will let PBOT
                     keep moving in this direction after the elections.

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               Kevin Wagoner April 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm

               The fact sheet explaining the cost infrastructure to move a person one mile should be rather powerful data. Excited
               to see that.

               Recommended       2


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               Evan Manvel April 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

               This thread is a reminder that Tom Miller is truly dedicated to our issues and understands the benefits of walking
               and biking investments.

               There are two candidates for mayor who've said they would kick him out, despite not having a chance to work with
               him and evaluate him while in office.
               http://bikeportland.org/2012/03/16/pbot-director-miller-responds-to-mayoral-candidates-calling-for-his-
               ouster-68989

               The third is Jefferson Smith, the endorsed candidate of Bike Walk Vote. There's a huge canvass Earth Day, this
               Sunday April 22nd, for Jefferson. Meet at Crank bicycles at noon. Questions - Contact Rachel at 971.570.1161 or
               rachel -at- jeffersonsmith.com

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               Ian C April 19, 2012 at 11:40 am




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BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » At Summit, PBOT Director annou...        http://bikeportland.org/2012/04/18/at-summit-pbot-director-announces...


               Wow, Jonathan, looks like you had to sit through quite a session of political platitudes and doublespeak:

               "We're going to roll out a 10% mode split goal."
               "universal accountability,"
               "tough decisions" and "tough calls that need to be made,"
               and the best for last...
               "Accountability, rigor, discipline, and transparency."

               Ouch. These guys are pros at saying a lot of words that mean very little and promise even less. Did you feel like he
               was just a lackey sent by his superiors to sort of placate those of you at the conference?

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                     Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 19, 2012 at 11:47 am

                     If I didn't know Tom and didn't have any background on him, I might think this was politi-speak. But I think
                     he's actually saying something substantive here... If it actually comes to fruition, it will be a much more
                     acccountable and transparent approach than PBOT has ever taken. They will be essentially, not just dreaming
                     of a vision decades from now with no public accountability for steps it takes to get there — they will publish
                     a specific date, a goal (10%), and a list of projects to get there.

                     Tom can explain it however he wants (and btw it's pretty typical for folks in his position to talk like that), but
                     that's what's going on and if you think that lacks substance i disagree with you.

                     Also, he is clearly making the case that, because of a lack of money, he intends to put a higher priority on
                     biking and walking than they currently have. To me, that doesn't "mean very little" at all.

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               J_R April 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

               Over reliance on the gas tax is a common claim, but it turns out to be untrue - at least in terms of the Oregon
               Department of Transportation's budget.

               According to the 2011 - 2013 Legislatively Adopted budget, "motor fuel taxes" account for about 20 of the total
               budget. It is the largest single revenue item at $1.1 billion. It's followed by federal funds at $0.9 billion; driver and
               vehicle license fees at $0.7 billion; and weight-mile revenues at $0.6 billion.

               A two-page budget summary with very nice charts can be found at:

               http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/FS/docs/budget/11-13LABRevSourcesandUses.pdf

               I have long advocated a big increase in gas taxes - add 50 cents per gallon per year for the next ten years. That
               would make those driving motor vehicles pay their fair share and would encourage all of us to drive less and choose
               more efficient cars when we do buy and operate them.

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               styrex April 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm




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               Could it be that the across the board fuel efficiency of newer cars and the future targets for fuel efficiency are really
               what is responsible for the lower gas tax revenues? I say drive as much as you want, just do it in a car that has better
               technology.

               Share the road. Share the rules.

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                     9watts April 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

                     short answer: no.

                     You inadvertently demonstrated why this won't work.
                     "I say drive as much as you want, just do it in a car that has better technology."

                     That is pretty much what has happened over the past almost forty years in the US. What is new to this
                     conversation about oil and our future on this planet is that we are beginning to realize that the remaining oil
                     and coal and natural gas really should stay in the ground; that we can't afford to dig it up and burn it in our
                     cars and power plants. As such fuel efficiency is arguably beside the point. All that does is affect the rate at
                     which we burn what's left ~ whether in five or 25 or 50 years doesn't make much of a difference,
                     environmentally speaking.

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                     J_R April 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm

                     No. Fuel efficiency of the US motor vehicle fleet is basically unchanged in the last 25 years. Autos are
                     slightly more efficient, but SUVs and light trucks not comprise more than half the fleet, so the overall
                     efficiency is the same. The technology has been used to increase performance. Horsepower has almost
                     doubled and fuel economy has stayed constant.

                     See the summary from the Pew Center at:

                     http://www.pewenvironment.org/uploadedFiles/PEG/Publications/Fact_Sheet
                     /History%20of%20Fuel%20Economy.pdf

                     Even with the new CAFE standards, it will take years to have a noticeable impact because of the slow
                     turnover of the vehicle fleet.

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               Hot Rod April 23, 2012 at 12:27 am

               QUOTE: "That over-reliance of gas tax revenue is exacerbated in Portland," Miller continued, "because we've been
               successful in what we're trying to do [getting people to drive less]."

               This statement is absolute crap. People are driving less because of the financial crisis: they are making less money,
               or no money, and are afraid of losing their jobs so they are saving where they can - PBOT wasn't successful at
               anything - they only waste taxpayer dollars.

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               Noticed improvements in answering that question from both Hales and Brady.
               Watching KGW/Oregonian #pdxmayor debate...And, first audience ? from The O is "bikes v cars/roads".
               Candidates answer well!
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                     Back Pedal Cycle Works


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                     St. Francis Plumbing




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