bill are a major success story for the BTA.
The Portland-based Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is up for a Bicycling Magazine People’s Choice Advocacy Award. The awards, promoted by the magazine in partnership with the Alliance for Biking & Walking, will be given to one of ten finalists who gets the most votes in an online poll made public yesterday.
The BTA has been recognized for their work with the Oregon legislature to pass a major change to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) ConnectOregon transportation funding program. For its first four years of existence, this state lottery-backed funding source, also known as the Multimodal Transportation Fund, was open to just about every “non-highway” transportation mode except bicycling and walking. That glaring omission was corrected last year when Senate Bill 260 was passed into law.
With federal transportation funding all but drying up, pots of money like the $42 million available from ConnectOregon this year are highly sought after. “Accessing the ConnectOregon pool of dollars from lottery tickets,” reads a blurb about the BTA’s efforts on Bicycling.com, “became a holy grail for Portland advocates.”
Thanks to the BTA’s efforts, that grail has been found.
Last month, a source who works at the ODOT said the ConnectOregon bill simply would not have passed without BTA’s “extensive and focused lobbying”. “They went all out, and they won in the House and the Senate. It’s the biggest victory for BTA in Salem in at least 5 years.”
While it remains to be seen just how many bike-related projects end up winning funds from ConnectOregon (final decisions won’t be made until August), documents released from ODOT last month showed that more applications were submitted for “Bicycle/Pedestrian” projects than any other category.
The BTA is going up against other advocacy efforts from some of the premier bike organizations in America including Transportation Alternatives in New York City, the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, Bike Delaware, and others.
Voting began yesterday and will run through February 6th. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Monday, March 3rd in Washington D.C. at the National Bike Summit (and yes, BikePortland will be there to cover it!).
— Learn more about each nominee and make your vote here.