February 11th, 2010 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

Bike Plan for 2030: Transportation Bureau Responds to Portland Budget Gurus

A Murmur in this week's paper described how Portland's Bureau of Transportation and its Office of Management and Finance are continuing talks about the cost of fully implementing the city's Bicycle Plan for 2030.

OMF analysts reviewed PBOT's $613 million figure for the plan and wrote, in a memo to City Commissioners last week, that that number may have underestimated the price of building the plan by at least $122 million. Also, OMF pointed out the figure did not include maintenance costs for the new, proposed infrastructure. (That's no small thing, given Portland's overall $650 million transportation-maintenance backlog.)

In response to OMF's questions, PBOT has added new language to the plan that commissioners will consider at 3 pm today. Here's the lengthy addition:

"On page A-14, replace the existing narrative regarding project cost assumptions with a new narrative as follows: 'Except where project costs were established by others, the costs for projects in the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 were estimated roughly based on unit costs per mile in 2008 dollars. The cost assumptions for each facility type are shown in the adjacent table. These assumed costs, though planning level estimates, compare well to full project costs for bikeways under development and budgeted by PBOT in 2009 and 2010. These comparison costs generally do include factors for design, engineering, right-of-way acquisition, and contingency. Where projects contain multiple facility types, the total cost is estimated by summing the products of unit cost for each facility type multiplied by the length of the project that is assigned to that facility type. Where a decision on facility type is still pending, the cost of the more expensive facility type has been used. These estimates are considered to have a level of confidence appropriate to a comprehensive citywide plan.'”

Now here's a rough translation of those 172 words: PBOT says its $613 million figure was a conservative estimate. The new language tries to explain its generalizations. Meantime, the two city bureaus remain in conversation.
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