history is yet another strain on
the City budget.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Already on a downward slope due to a dwindling gas tax and lower parking revenues, and facing millions in necessary cutbacks, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is now feeling the hurt due to the severe storm that refuses to relinquish its grip.
In their daily storm conditions and report update published this morning, PBOT wrote that their annual budget includes one million dollars in “contingency for any type of emergency response”. The statement goes on to say,
“Budget impact for severe or prolonged events can be significant. It can more than double the City’s normal operating expenditures for a day. With this current severe winter weather event… Transportation will certainly exceed that budget.”
PBOT’s primary source of discretionary operating revenue, the State Highway Trust Fund (which is funded by a gas tax, registration and title fees, etc…) no longer provides the revenue it once did.
Adding to the gloomy outlook at PBOT is the $422 million maintenance backlog and another half-billion in deferred road maintenance.
Expressing the dire nature of the funding situation, PBOT writes:
“This backlog will continue to grow and have a serious impact on Portland’s transportation system until we are successful in securing new and sustainable funding sources for our maintenance operations and safety programs.”
What will that “new and sustainable” funding source be? Mayor-elect Adams’ defunct “Safe, Sound, and Green Streets” proposal would have helped. Perhaps we’ll see something like that pop up again this spring.
In the meantime, the Storm of 2008 isn’t over yet…