Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Portland Oregon

Portland Oregon, More than 80 percent of the Portland City Club's members have approved a bicycling study that calls for, among other things, a 4 percent statewide excise tax on new bike purchases to fund better research and education.

The final vote by members of the city's oldest and most respected civic organization was 254-51 -- or 83 percent -- in favor of the 83-page "No Turning Back" report. City Club members voted in person and online late last week.

One of the most comprehensive examinations of bicycling in Portland's history, the report concludes that biking is "essential to continued growth in the local economy and overall quality of life" in Portland.

Some local bicycle blogs and advocates complained that too much coverage of the report centered on a recommendation to push for a 4 percent statewide tax that would add an extra $20 to the purchase price of a $500 bike in Oregon.

They felt that it took away from what they see as one of the most overwhelming and well-researched cases made for bicycling as a daily transportation option in Portland.

At the same time, the City Club concentrated on the idea in press materials. The headline on the study's official news release on the study read, "Bicycling needs more revenue for enforcement, infrastucture, and education."

Revenue generated by the excise tax would not go into to building new bike lanes, greenways and cycletracks. Rather, it should pay for bike safety programs at schools and providing more reliable accounting of pedal-powered traffic, possibly automated bike counters such as the one on the Hawthorne Bridge, according to the proposal.

However, anytime someone proposes a new tax in Oregon, it's going to make headlines. What's more, it was the only part of the report that generated it's own minority opinion for funding.

Two members of the committee behind the study wrote that the there should be mandatory licensing and registration of bicyclists, saying it would raise money for projects, improve safety and erase the image of bike commuters as freeloaders.

The majority on the bicycle advisory committee deemed the idea unenforceable, unmanageable and punitive. Indeed, most bicyclists are also automobile owners who pay registration and gas taxes.

An online vote was not held on the minority report. However, City Club members who showed up for a special meeting on Friday rejected the idea with an 8-37 vote.

Now that the study is the City Club's official position, the organization will form an advocacy committee to figure out how to push its key recommendations to "community partners and key decision makers," said City Club spokesman Greg Wallinger. "The next step is about building advocacy and awareness about what folks can do as individuals to get home safely."

Portland Oregon Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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