Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Bike Delivery Businesses Excluded From Clean Air Freight Grant in Portland

A sizable amount of federal transportation funds dedicated for clean air projects goes to freight trucks. This money pays for things like diesel engine retrofits that help reduce the enormous environmental impact of the nation's delivery fleet.

false

It seems that if this money is made available, there are other low-emissions delivery models that should also receive the benefits. But Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reports that a new grant program will subsidize the region's heavy truck operators while passing over bike delivery services that use electric assist engines:

The money comes from the federal government's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program and it's aimed at, "encouraging the purchase of zero-emission urban delivery trucks." Unfortunately the money (which comes in the form of $20,000 vouchers per qualifying vehicle) cannot be used to purchase cargo trikes and other vehicles that use human-power in addition to electric assist. One stipulation of the grants is that the vehicles weight over 10,000 pounds.

The goal of this program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so it seems promoting more freight to be delivered with pedal-powered trucks would make a lot of sense. It's too bad that ODOT doesn't yet embrace the type of freight vehicles used with much success by Portland companies like B-Line and Portland Pedal Power.

When questioned about the policy, ODOT officials told Maus that they had not considered including bike delivery services in the program. Franklin Jones, CEO and founder of B-Line, a Portland-based bike delivery service, responded: "There is a false assumption that there is no alternative [to heavy trucks] for supplying goods and services into our urban core."

According to Bike Portland, bike delivery services like B-Line are starting to appear in major cities across North America, including MetroPed in Boston, Revolution Rickshaw in New York City, and SHIFT Urban Delivery in Vancouver.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Pedestrian Observations explains how political dynamics can lead to donut-shaped transit patterns in many American cities. The Wash Cycle explains why it's appropriate to subsidize bike-share, like every other form of American transportation, despite the hazy arguments offered by the Reason Foundation on the subject. And Systemic Failure remarks the tendency for "zombie highway" projects -- those planned long before but never completed -- to return from the grave, which is occurring right now in the Bay Area.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines Are in a Good Place

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Get on the bus! Advocates Urge Mayor Johnson to Save Chicago Greyhound Terminal

According to the letter, rehabbing the station would cost less that $40M, a small fraction of the price tag of many other local transportation projects.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024
See all posts