Member Workgroup Advocates for Better Transportation

BBPDX convened a Transportation Workgroup in June for a deep dive on two hot transportation topics heating up for the Portland region.

First up, Tyler Frisbee from Metro provided context for T2020, a comprehensive transportation investment measure slated to go before voters in November 2020. She cited intense growth in the region and decades of failed attempts to make significant investments in transportation infrastructure. Though $80B worth of need has been identified in the region, this measure is attempting to raise around $6B in order to make improvements along 13 corridors that have been prioritized by Metro Council with input from a Transportation Funding Task Force.

Speaking of the task force, BBPDX member Stephen Gomez then briefed the group on his participation on the task force thus far. He articulated BBPDX's stance that public transit investments are the best way to achieve the safety, equity and climate goals that we advocate for. Stephen is joined on the task force by fellow BBPDX member Leslie Carlson of Brink Communications. In May, Stephen sent a letter to Metro on behalf of BBPDX, highlighting our priorities for investments in our transportation system that improve roadway safety, create economic opportunity for historically underserved communities, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Next up, the workgroup heard from Noah Siegel and Shoshana Cohen from the Portland Bureau of Transportation on the latest in a compromise that was included in the 2017 transportation funding package: freeway expansion projects would move forward as long as there is also an evaluation of pricing strategies to reduce congestion. Welcome to the emerging conversation on congestion pricing. PBOT is studying a variety of congestion pricing methods — including tolls, cordons, dynamic parking pricing, and a road user charge — and City Council heard a report on topic in July. At that meeting, Ady Leverette testified on behalf of BBPDX urging them to consider congestion pricing as a means to reduce traffic saying: “Neither business nor Portland can thrive in gridlock. We must carefully consider every tool at our disposal to reduce congestion in our region.”

The workgroup will continue to monitor these issues into the fall, looking for additional opportunities to engage members to advocate for BBPDX transportation values. As with all BBPDX policy workgroups, all members are eligible to participate. Email if you’d like more information about participation.