Street Fee Proposal

Commissioners Fish and Fritz warm to income tax to pay for streets

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
council work session novick fritz hales fish
Portland’s city council speaks with staff Monday about the “Our Streets PDX” proposal.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Can Portland’s proposed transportation income tax count to three?

In the political tea leaves of Portland’s five-member city council, three is the magic number. And the tenor of Monday’s hearing on the city’s proposed tax suggested that consensus is building. But the vote seems likely to hinge on who would pay how much.


New maps show which streets would be improved by proposed income tax

Monday, October 13th, 2014

As Jonathan reported earlier this afternoon, the city has just released its most thoroughly vetted list yet of which streets would see improvements from a proposed income tax for streets.

How solid is this list? Well, this is the first time the city has ever put it on a map.


BTA calls on members to back income tax for street funding

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
BTA Annual meeting-2
BTA Director Rob Sadowsky, part of a coalition
of local nonprofit leaders offering to
endorse a city revenue proposal.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

For months, almost no local institutions have been willing to voice public support for one of Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick’s signature agenda items: a new revenue stream for city transportation budgets (a.k.a. the Our Streets Transportation Funding Conversation).

On Thursday, a group of nonprofits, many of which focus on transportation, offered to do so — with conditions.

In a separate but related action Wednesday, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, which is among the nonprofit coalition, issued a rare action alert calling on its members to contact Portland City Council in support of “a new progressive street fee with strong discounts for low-income members of our community only if it prioritizes safety.”


The $60 million map: Here’s what a street fee’s ‘safety’ money might pay for

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
street fee map
Green for new sidewalks, yellow for neighborhood greenways, teal for protected bike lanes, red for painted bike lanes, blue dots for crossing improvements and purple for other improvements like lighting or frequent buses.
(Graphic by BikePortland using Transitmix.net. Click for an interactive version.)

So far, the public debate about a per-household and per-business street fee has been mostly about the costs: who would pay how much.

While that debate rages on, the city has finally floated some specifics about the possible benefits.


Comment of the week: A close look at street fee alternatives

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Today’s BikePortland comments, tomorrow’s news.

Reader MaxD’s Tuesday afternoon comment looking closely at the stated goals and options for the city’s per-household and per-business street fee plan didn’t hit on the same alternatives Commissioner Steve Novick’s office turned out to be looking at, but his detailed analysis anticipated them.


City considers whether to spend more of street fee on repaving, less on safety

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
out of balance
Some want more to go to “maintenance.”
(city graphic)

With Portland’s mayor and transportation commissioner sticking adamantly to their guns on the notion that the city needs more money for its street system, other political chess pieces are moving.

Here’s one of the biggest: should less of the money go toward street safety and more toward street maintenance?

The initial plan from city leaders, which the city council sent back for retooling in June, was for 44 percent of the $50 million a year fee to go toward “safety projects” such as 4 miles a year of new neighborhood greenways, 70 city blocks a year of new sidewalks, 20 safer street crossings per year and a mile or two of new protected bike lanes each year.

Another 53 percent would go to repaving 30 to 50 miles of city streets each year, plus other maintenance like replacing 8,000 faded city street name signs each year.


PBOT endures testy town hall for non-residential street fee plan

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Street Fee Town Hall - non residential fee-6
Mayor Charlie Hales, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, and PBOT Director Leah Treat faced a tough crowd during their street fee town hall this morning at the Oregon Convention Center.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

The town hall meeting this morning on PBOT’s proposal for a non-residential “transportation users fee” had all the markings of a potential debacle for Mayor Charlie Hales and PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick: A delayed council vote after getting push-back from business groups; huge demand forced the meeting to be moved into a ballroom at the Oregon Convention Center; a large majority of the 200 or so that showed up were in opposition to the plan; there were two private security guards in the room; a third-party company was hired to facilitate the meeting; and there were several outbursts of yelling at the outset of the event.

But — despite a few ugly moments of anger — the meeting eventually settled down and PBOT and Mayor Hales emerged relatively unscathed, if not stronger, as they continued their march toward finding a mechanism to raise new local transportation revenue. (more…)

PBOT hosts two key town halls for ‘street fee’ this week

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Street fee press conference-1
PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick at
a street fee press conference in April.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland’s effort to raise new revenue for transportation via a “Transportation Users Fee” (a.k.a. street fee) will likely face its toughest crowd ever at a town hall tomorrow morning.

The event, one of two town halls set for this week, will focus only on the business/non-residential side of the fee, which has emerged over the past month as the most controversial aspect of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick’s proposal. Skepticism and concern from business groups (like Venture Portland) about how the fee will be calculated was raised at the City Council hearing late last month and it has gained steam since.

Mayor pushes back street fee vote to November – UPDATED

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
Portland City Council
Portland City Council at the public hearing for a transportation street fee last weeek.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales says a planned City Council vote on a street fee, originally scheduled for tomorrow, will be pushed back to November. In a statement released a few minutes ago, Hales said the vote is “temporarily delayed due to concerns voiced by small business owners and low-income people and advocates.” (more…)

Update on Portland street fee as city gears up for first major public hearing

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s a big day for the City of Portland’s push for a street fee (a.k.a. the Transportation User Fee (TUF)) as the proposed plan get its first public hearing at City Council today at 2:00 pm. In advance of that, we want to help you get caught up and primed for the discussion.

From the web to watercoolers, civic dialogue about the funding initiative is at an all-time high. That’s not just because the public hearing is imminent, but because the underlying policy continues to be tweaked and changed less than one week before Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick plan to ask their Council colleagues to vote on it. And so far, neither Hales or Novick has announced an intention to push back the fee’s effective date of July 1, 2015.

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