There was jubilation when, earlier this year, Oregon legislators decided to make active transportation projects eligible for millions of grant dollars through Connect Oregon.
So it wasn't too surprising when the Oregon Department of Transportation announced recently bicycle and pedestrian-oriented efforts comprised the largest number of applications for the next round of disbursements —35 out of 108.
Now, we have an idea what that list looks like. ODOT posted it online [pdf] earlier today.
Eleven come from Multnomah County, and two from the City of Portland. As Willamette Week reported yesterday, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has requested $2 million to establish bike share on Swan Island and elsewhere in the city. The bureau will need to secure the sponsorship money to get a system up and running first. Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick told the Mercury last week the system has "significant commitments," but none have been announced.
The city's not just fishing for bike money, though. Transportation officials are also angling for $1.6 million to close a funding hole in the Portland Streetcar system. The money, according to the application [pdf], will go to"close a funding gap for the procurement of one streetcar vehicle, and the installation of automatic train stop (ATS) safety equipment on each vehicle in the City's streetcar fleet."
Funding has been an ongoing issue for the streetcar. Back in March, PBOT said it was expecting roughly a $1 million yearly deficit for funding from July 2014 to at least June 2018.
"It looks like it's a problem on the horizon," Commissioner Nick Fish said at the time. "We have a year to think that through and see how we can avoid that."
The Port of Portland is asking the most of any entity in Multnomah County — roughly $8 million dollars for three projects. Metro's also getting in on the action, asking for $2.2 million for a project in St. John's.
ODOT says a decision on grant applications will come next summer, and a lot of people are going to walk away empty handed. Connect Oregon has only $40 million to work with this year—its lowest pool ever—and more than $129 million has been requested.