Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on June 15th, 2007 at 5:50 pm
Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams is gearing up to launch a new transportation funding initiative. Last night at the Bicycle Master Plan open house in North Portland, he stopped by to drop a hint.
As attendees filled out comment forms and discussed the pros and cons of various bike routes, Adams came to the microphone and said,
“The City’s transportation budget has a $422 million backlog and at our current rate, we’re going deeper in the hole by $9 million each year…The work you’re doing tonight will very soon turn into plans for a new funding initiative.”
Adams made it clear that he plans to announce the new initiative next week.
It’s no mystery that the city’s transportation system is woefully underfunded. What remains unknown is what form this initiative will take. Will it be a gas tax? A tax on big SUVs? Increased parking fees? A bond measure?
Adams’ office has been brainstorming to find solutions to the problem ever since it became clear that Republican lawmakers in Salem were not willing to pass an increase in the Gas Tax and eight years of budget cuts to the Office of Transportation (PDOT), which he oversees.
Part of their information gathering strategy is a series of “Neighborhood Town Halls” that begin next week.
Our big-city neighbors to the north, Seattle, are in the midst of a major bond measure campaign to fund their transportation budget shortfall. They call it “Bridging the Gap”.
It’s clear that our transportation network is in serious need of a funding boost…it will be interesting to see how Adams decides to tackle the problem.