PBOT budget proposal cuts active transportation by $1.5 million

PBOT budget proposal cuts active transportation by $1.5 million

Sunday-Parkways-SE-2012-3

A budget proposal by PBOT would end
the City’s support of Sunday Parkways.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As PBOT grapples with a $4.4 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year, yesterday they proposed $1.5 in cuts that would directly impact biking and walking projects and programs.

Members of the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee heard about the proposed cuts at their meeting last night (the second of three meetings before the budget proposal moves into a public process phase). PBOT spokesman Dan Anderson confirmed the proposal with me today.

Of the $4.4 million in total needed cuts, $1.8 million will be slashed from projects and $2.6 million will come from operations/programs.

On the project side, PBOT is proposing to cut $1 million from their “Neighborhood Safety/Livability” category. That pot of money includes things like neighborhood greenways, “ped & bike safety” projects, Safe Routes to School, and more.

On the program/operations side, PBOT is proposing to cut $551,275 from “Active Transportation.” That cut would end PBOT’s financial support of Sunday Parkways, SmartTrips (a biking and walking encouragement marketing program), and more.

You might recall that last year, City funding of Sunday Parkways came under fire from Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Saltzman argued that it shouldn’t be funded with city revenue because it’s not a core service. “There are a lot of other pressing transportation priorities,” he said at the time. When it began in 2008 Sunday Parkways relied on the City for about half it’s funding, with most of its support coming from donations and private sponsorships. City support dwindled to just 1/3 of the total funding last year.

See the complete cut proposal here (PDF).

Keep in mind this is just the first proposal from PBOT. Specifics of budget cuts still need to be hammered out and there’s a public process yet to come. Also, the new mayor (Charlie Hales) will put together a separate budget proposal.

Even so, this is not good news for these precious programs that we all know need as much support as possible.

Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocacy director Gerik Kransky is a member of the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee. He’s obviously not pleased. He tweeted from the meeting last night that, “If this proposal moves forward we can kiss Sunday Parkways and large portions of Smart Trips goodbye.”

Stay tuned for more budget coverage.

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