Oregon Legislative Representatives passed Senate Bill 260, which now includes biking and walking projects through the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, ConnectOregon.
ConnectOregon is a lottery funded program that was first approved in 2005 by Oregon Legislatures. ConnectOregon focuses on providing efficient and strong transportation systems for air, rail, marine and transit infrastructures within the state. ConnectOregon focuses on connecting all modes of transportation to improve how traffic flows through all transportation sources. ConnectOregon projects help the state maintain jobs for its citizens as well as allow everyone to benefit from an improving transportation system. ConnectOregon is covered under the
Until now, biking and walking was not covered under the ConnectOregon program. During the 2013 Legislative Session, both the City of Portland, OR and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance pushed to add biking and walking to what is funded by ConnectOrgeon and the Oregon Lottery. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, BTA, has been pushing for more funds for years, saying that many trails are suffering from lack of funding from the government. Portland is currently the second best city for biking safety and popularity. The BTA believes that in order to maintain the safety of everyone who chooses to ride their bikes or walk the state needs to increase funds given to biking/pedestrian trails and paths.
The Senate Bill 260 allowed for biking and walking to be covered under the Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides funds for ConnectOregon. The topic was first discussed during the 2009 Legislative session, but did not become a bill until this most recent Regular Session.
Opposition to the bill stated that it would take away from funds needed for business and economic development. However, those who pushed for the bill reminded others that the addition of biking and pedestrian funds did not promise them a specific amount. The bill only opened the ConnectOregon Program to include biking and walking for when funds are available or needed. Projects funded by ConnectOregon need to be approved before any funds can be allocated for the project.
The Oregon Lottery proudly provides funds for programs throughout the state to help improve the lives of its citizens. These programs include education, economic development, job creation, state parks, and water enhancement.
For more information on the Oregon Lottery and where the money goes, check out their website.