The Portland Bureau of Transportation has projected $16 million in cuts to balance their 2012-2013 fiscal year budget.
As we reported earlier this month, the cuts are necessary due to a variety of local, regional, and national issues and Portland Mayor Sam Adams is asking all bureaus to do their parts to weather the storm.
In a statement issued today, PBOT said they’ve gotten even lower than expected gas tax receipt projections from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). State gas tax revenues are PBOT’s single largest source of funding and they’ve been dwindling as people decide to drive less and drive more fuel-efficient cars.
“The Bureau of Transportation must make permanent, significant cuts to match expenditures to revenues,” reads their statement. These cuts come after a decade of cuts at PBOT. Since 2002, they’ve cut $16 million and 83 staff positions from their discretionary budget (meaning funds that are separate from state and federal grants).
Here’s PBOT Director Tom Miller via a statement just released:
“Today we are faced with two interrelated challenges. We must provide basic transportation services even as we make strategic choices about Portland’s transportation future. And we are forced to do it all with an ever-shrinking number of dollars.”
We will no doubt see a vigorous public conversation begin about where and how to make these cuts. PBOT is already soliciting feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investment that make bicycling more viable and attractive have the largest return for the City’s dollar. Advocates and City staff themselves have been polishing that argument for years and it seems they’ll have to continue to make that case in the months ahead.
As always, this will likely have a lot to do with politics and power. Stay tuned.