Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

City ‘pauses’ Street Fund vote in lieu of legislative action

Posted by on January 15th, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales just announced plans to halt their upcoming vote on how to pay for new transportation revenue. The full press release is below:

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick today temporarily halted the paperwork necessary to take an advisory vote to the May ballot, regarding options to pay for city street maintenance and safety.

“Today, I am announcing a pause in our local efforts to fund our streets and safety projects within the City of Portland,” Mayor Hales said. “Over the past week, I have had conversations with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and with Gov. John Kitzhaber. They have each assured me that a statewide transportation package is a top priority for them this legislative session.”

The Legislature is set to convene in February. The deadline for Portland to submit paperwork for the May election was 5 p.m. today.

“Because they recognize the importance of efforts to fund transportation infrastructure, they will hear the needs of local governments and ensure they are part of state transportation conversations as they work to give communities the tools to build and maintain critical infrastructure,” Hales said.

“We are pleased to know that the Legislature is very interested in a transportation funding discussion this year,” Commissioner Novick said. “We have said all along that the street fund we have proposed will not address all our needs, and that we are counting on the state and federal governments to step up.”

The city has conducted more than 14 months of hearings to craft a proposal to pay for street maintenance and safety.
“During the passionate conversations we have had in Portland regarding transportation funding, many options were discussed, none of which prove to be popular,” Hales said.

Stay tuned for more coverage and thoughts on what this means going forward.

Ugh.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

41
Leave a Reply

avatar
19 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
30 Comment authors
Maxdavemessbloodcircus77J_Rpaikiala Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Phil Richman
Guest
Phil Richman

Maybe this provides some hope for Barbur Blvd? On another note I’ve become curious about crowdfunding for civic projects. Maybe feature in an article? http://www.citizinvestor.com/

Patrick Barber
Guest

Sounds like they took what they learned from the NE 28th debacle, and are deftly applying it to the whole city of Portland. Brilliant.

Also, if I am not mistaken, along with PBOT asking people to provide “citizen support” for city planning policies, the city is now also looking to state and federal sources for support.

At least it’s an easy song to learn, since it gets so much rotation.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

what a waste of time for everyone. ugh. there is a big leadership gap in portland right now. maybe time to move to seattle? wait they have a big tunnel machine stuck under downtown. I’m just going to Copenhagen, see you all later!

spencer
Guest
spencer

i highly doubt a politically feasible increased statewide gas tax will sufficiently fund our maintenance backlog, let alone make our streets safer.
there had better be a HUGE gas tax hike to meet PDX’s funding needs

Eric Iverson
Guest
Eric Iverson

I’ll chip in for some diverters on Clinton. It will improve my quality of life significantly. I’ve got all sorts of disposable income now that I don’t pay for one of those fast-moving metal shapes that honks and kills people

Stephanie B
Guest
Stephanie B

Is it possible that they will finally consider the question of — gasp — studded tires? The local politicians always say a ban is off limits because it would require state legislation. I realize this doesn’t answer the question of funding, but it is the #1 obvious culprit in the degradation of our streets. Now that Gov & Speaker are involved, will it even get mentioned? I’m not holding my breath.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Spineless…tha Street fund was only one leg of a three leg tripod of funding increases we need….state gas tax/carbon tax, local street fee, and pricing parking. Hales is just booting the decision down the street…again.

Adam Herstein
Guest
Adam Herstein

Increase the gas tax four-fold, heavily tax studded tires, set aside 10% of transportation revenue for bike infrastructure, and 20% for public transportation.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Gasoline is something like $2/gal cheaper now than it was two years ago. Why can’t we get a reasonable, like $1/gal, gas tax to pass? (Don’t answer. I already know and I’m just whining.)

jeff bernards
Guest
jeff bernards

Driving around the state it’s obvious the long term damage studded tires have done to ALL OUR roads. I proposed the studded tire initiative after Matt from ODOT told me I should talk to Les Schwab about banning studded tires. Well now the time has come to face the facts, they’ve neglected to deal with the issue and now it’s going to cost $millions to fix the damage. I think Les Schwab should take some of their corporate welfare money and pay back the citizens of Oregon for their lobbying efforts over the years. The tobacco companies had to pay up, I think this is a similar situation.

Mike Quiglery
Guest
Mike Quiglery

Whatever Portland does don’t do what Lane county is planning. Enact a street fee of $35/vehicle, BUT EXEMPT ALL COMMERCIAL VEHICLES! This in a county full of overloaded log trucks, and voters who regularly reject any increase in the gas tax. And for a kicker, there’s no mandate that outlying communities even use the fee for road maintenance! Will the locals vote for it? Probably.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

In other words, 4th down and 50 yards to go. Steve and Charlie will punt the ball….

Peter W
Guest

So many holes in that press release.

> “Today, I am announcing a pause in our local efforts to fund our streets and safety projects within the City of Portland,” Mayor Hales said. “Over the past week, I have had conversations with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and with Gov. John Kitzhaber. They have each assured me that a statewide transportation package is a top priority for them this legislative session.”

They’re trying to frame this as “we just learned the legislature will push a transportation package, and so we’re scrapping our plans”? If so, either a) Hales is learning something everyone else knew for a very long time or b) Hales thinks it’s easy to pass flimsy arguments over Portlanders.

> “We are pleased to know that the Legislature is very interested in a transportation funding discussion this year,” Commissioner Novick said. “We have said all along that the street fund we have proposed will not address all our needs, and that we are counting on the state and federal governments to step up.”

If the local funding would have left a small hole to be plugged by state funding, then the state funding alone will leave a very large hole if we don’t also have local funding.

Perhaps a requirement from the press release author was “at least one illogical argument from each of you, gents!”.

Peter W
Guest

Also,

> The city has conducted more than 14 months of hearings to craft a proposal to pay for street maintenance and safety.
“During the passionate conversations we have had in Portland regarding transportation funding, many options were discussed, none of which prove to be popular,” Hales said.

The Mayor is saying “we spent 14 months trying to figure out what you want, and nothing was popular so we’re quitting”?

Really? They really thought that was a good ending?

davemess
Guest
davemess

“Ugh.”

Perfect finish to this article Jonathan! Well written.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Of course none of the options were “popular.” Any one of them would have required Portlanders to pay for something we’ve always gotten for free.

But that’s the sort of thing we look to local leaders to do – make unpopular but necessary decisions for the good of the city as a whole.

Our elected leadership first absolved themselves of responsibility for making any difficult decisions by passing it on to a public vote. Seeing that even that route would cost them points in the civic popularity contest, they’re passing the buck on to the State Legislature.

I hope there are elected leaders down in Salem with a spine. Ours have spent 14 months wasting our time and public resources with nothing to show for it.

Jayson
Guest
Jayson

LOL. Wake me when it’s done.

bloodcircus77
Guest
bloodcircus77

Here’s hoping it’s delayed long enough for us to vote these clods out of office. No confidence.

Max
Guest
Max

Sounds like they found a political exit strategy for the unpopular tax.