As long-time advocates and fighters for safe and accessible transportation options, and founding members of the Getting There Together Coalition, we are thrilled that today, Metro Council referred their Get Moving 2020 regional transportation investment measure to the November 2020 ballot, which will invest more than $7 billion across the greater Portland region over the next 20 years.
In addition to significant wins on projects in the measure, we are extra-pleased to see annual and ongoing resources put toward programs including community stability, ensuring people are not displaced from their homes or businesses due to transportation improvements; significant and ongoing investments in safety programs to fill in the gaps between the proposed corridors, including dedicated funding for SRTS infrastructure and programs, safety and walking, biking, and trails connections; and a new region-wide Youth Transit Pass program.
Our testimony to the Metro Council in full below:
Good afternoon, President Peterson and Metro Councilors:
My name is Kari Schlosshauer, and I am the Senior Policy Manager for the Safe Routes Partnership, I live in Portland and I’m a mom to two boys who love to ride their bikes. I am also speaking today on behalf of the Getting There Together Coalition, of which we are a founding member. We are a broad and diverse coalition of more than 60 community and mission based organizations, and for the past two years we have lifted up and brought forward needs and perspectives from BIPOC-led organizations, youth, older adults, people with disabilities, working class, and transit dependent folks.
Even before the triple pandemic we’ve all struggled through in the past months, we knew that many of our communities throughout the region were struggling. People from BIPOC communities have known and spoke of economic and social injustices for decades, centuries actually. They are also built into our transportation system.
Our coalition pushed to change the conversation around what the transportation needs in the community are, highlighting the voices that weren't at the table -- and never have been. We are especially excited to see a significant portion of package dollars allocated to safety, transit, and access projects that will make transportation more accessible and affordable and will help people of all ages, abilities, and income levels to get around more easily in the region.
We support funding for residential and business community stability and against displacement from transportation; we support cleaner transit, and transit efficiency; and we support ongoing annual funding for Safe Routes to School, bike and pedestrian connections, safety, and trails. The expansion of PPS' successful YouthPass program, which builds on years of work and advocacy by youth of color at Sisters in Action for Power, Multnomah Youth Commission, and Youth Environmental Justice Alliance, will be game changing for youth in our region.
While this measure will not solve all the region’s transportation issues, it represents a community-informed first step that will bring real and meaningful change to all corners of the region, and it simply cannot wait any longer.
We as a coalition formed because we wanted to ensure that any measure created did not just reflect the priorities of elected officials or moneyed executives, but included the needs of the communities that interact with our transportation system on a daily basis. We are not posturing when we stand for social justice and racial equity, or take a knee, virtual or otherwise. We are still here, because our community’s needs are still here.
We support this measure being referred to the voters in November because our communities have said loud and clear they can’t wait any longer. Thank you for your work with the whole community.