Tour de Lab September 1st

Our opinion: Vote ‘yes’ on the gas tax

Posted by on April 27th, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Sidewalk to nowhere-2

(Photos by Jonathan Maus and Michael Andersen for BikePortland)

Three years ago, before launching his long, awkward crusade to raise money for Portland streets, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick made a really good point.

According to the city’s business tax records, he said, Portland residents, businesses and governments spend $844 million every year on auto maintenance and gasoline at local shops.

That’s not even close to the full cost of local auto use, which also includes buying cars, financing them, insuring them, parking them and so forth. Even without all that, it comes out to $3,270 per year per Portland household.

Almost everyone who bikes also drives, so almost everyone who bikes would pay. We should jump at the chance.

The 10-cent gas tax on the ballots that arrive this week in Portland mailboxes would very slightly increase that cost. Like the other costs of car use, this gas tax would be paid by rich Portlanders and by poor Portlanders. It would be paid — lest anyone forget — by Portlanders who bike, because the vast majority of Portlanders who use bikes also use cars.

It’d bring in $62 per Portland household per year, $5.18 per month. Per resident, the figure is $25, or $2.08 per month.

With that $62 per household, Portland would raise $16 million a year, or about one-fiftieth of the amount of money that Portlanders are already spending to fuel and repair their motor vehicles. Of that, $9 million go toward Portland’s budget for keeping its major streets from crumbling, increasing the paving budget by 64 percent. This would save taxpayers $90 million over the next 10 years because road maintenance now is far cheaper than repairs later. That’s a 1,000 percent return on investment — a $90 million payoff that Portland will be able to reinvest in making its streets better because it won’t have to throw every available penny into keeping them functional.

But that’s not all your $62 would do. It would also triple the city’s standing budget for new biking and walking infrastructure.

It would fill out a downtown protected bike lane network, finally delivering on the promise of our downtown bridge bikeways, all of which end before reaching the places people actually need to go.

(For beginning riders, Southwest Broadway’s door-zone bike lane may as well be a wall — and right now it’s one of the best bike routes in downtown Portland.)

It would devote a similar amount of money to 122nd Avenue, the most important street in east Portland and the key to making low-car life in the area not just possible but pleasant.

(122nd Avenue is often the best way because on a fractured street grid, it’s often the only way.)

It would build the Mill-Millmain-Main-Market and Holladay-Oregon-Pacific neighborhood greenways through east Portland, connecting David Douglas High School and thousands of new Portlanders to the I-205 path, Gateway Transit Center and the citywide bike network.

(Planned greenways for east Portland, marked in green.)

It would fund a 7th/9th neighborhood greenway, the crucial north-south connection to the Lloyd District, a first step in turning the Lloyd into the bike-friendliest dense neighborhood in the United States and an anchor for thousands of tomorrow’s pro-bike, pro-transit voters.

(A neighborhood greenway on 7th or 9th might improve the crossing of Weidler.)

It would put a new neighborhood greenway on NW/SW 20th Avenue from Raleigh to Jefferson, connecting the fast-growing neighborhoods of the Northwest District with Goose Hollow, Portland State University and the employers in downtown and (via MAX) Washington County.

NW Portland Week - Day 5-18.jpg

(Northwest Portland is the only quadrant with no modern neighborhood greenways.)

It would finally build the sidewalk on Southwest Capitol Highway from Multnomah Village to West Portland Town Center, a walking route to transit and shopping that has to be upgraded for southwest Portland to graduate from countryside to city.

SW Capitol Hwy-44

(Southwest Capitol Highway has been the quadrant’s top-priority project for many years.)

Advertisement

Almost every day on BikePortland, we write about something the city could spend money on. This ballot issue is the best chance we’ve seen in 10 years to substantially increase the amount of money that goes toward making Portland a better place to ride a bicycle.

If a $5-per-month gas tax sounds expensive, an auto-dependent city is costing us much, much more.

The best argument against the gas tax — against spending $62 for each of the next four years to get everything above and more — is that it is regressive. Rich people drive much more than poor people, especially in cities like Portland, so they will pay more. But poor people who drive will still have to pay a disproportionate percentage of their income, just as they do with all gas taxes.

That’s why it is so essential that a gas tax also deliver disproportionate benefits to low-income Portlanders. The initiative on Portland ballots (unlike any conceivable statewide gas tax) does this. If it passes and if these projects are built, they will make driving significantly less necessary for Portlanders.

Yes, most Portlanders will still basically need to own a car. It’ll take many more years to change that, though the change is already underway. But these projects and the others funded by this tax will help many more Portlanders drive less. And less driving means fewer miles on car engines, fewer timing belt replacements, fewer fender-benders, fewer trips to the gas station.

Yes, $62 per year for the average household is regressive. But $3,270 per year for the average household is far, far more regressive. There is only one path to escaping it, and that is to make Portland a better place to get around without a car.

A “yes” vote wouldn’t be a gift from Portlanders to their city government, which regularly makes mistakes and will continue to. If it passes, it will be up to Portlanders (all of us on BikePortland included) to collect on the promise of this vote by making all these projects as good and smart as they can possibly be.

But without a “yes” vote on this ballot, most of these projects and the others that would follow them simply will not happen for many years to come.

A “yes” vote would be a gift from Portlanders to themselves. Let’s do this.

Ballots are due May 17 at 8 p.m.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today.

Correction 2:30 pm: A previous version of this post gave the wrong annual spending figure for pavement maintenance.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

127 Comments
  • Avatar
    mh April 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    J_R April 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I will absolutely vote for it, but I suspect it will fail by a margin of 4-to-1.

    I buy fewer than 300 gallons of gas per year and a substantial portion of that is on out-of-town trips, so it will cost me a pittance – less than I spend on bike tires per year.

    I would be better as a state gas tax increase, but it’s worth a try.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    JG April 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Jonathan,

    Is there anything else this money is going to be spent on? Is 100% of it going to road repair and maintenance, bike/pedestrian infrastructure improvements and additions, etc.?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Hey JG – some money is also allocated to the more general category of making high-crash corridors safer, but that mostly involves things like striping changes, improved crosswalks, etc. Other than that, it’s basically just those two categories.

      You can read the full project list here:

      http://ppdx.co/fixourstreetsportland/FixOurStreetsPortland_Project-List.pdf

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        dbrunker April 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm

        I’d be enthralled(!!) to pay the $62 per year… *IF* … (notice that’s a pretty big “if”?) there was a legal, written guarantee that the money would get everything the article describes. Knowing how city counsel and governments in general work, the money will end up going to some pet project and nothing promised will get done.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Dan A May 2, 2016 at 8:36 am

          Define ‘pet project’. I suspect everyone’s definition is different.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        CarsAreFunToo April 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        I don’t see anything in there about finally paving the 59 or so miles of unpaved streets like those in Cully. Not a single one of those biking infrastructure projects should get funding until those streets are paved. Oh but wait, there’s a lot of low-income families in Cully, whatever, screw them, we want protected bikeways downtown. You guys are such a joke. There are people in this city that don’t have paved streets and sidewalks and y’all are complaining and moaning about having to ride your Copenhagen cycle chic commuters over bumps and your contraption cargo cycles up hills. You shout to the high heavens that you’re trying to make it better for everyone but it’s all just self-serving BS.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    dwk April 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    It is totally regressive and collects nothing from Washington drivers that are clogging the roads and buying their gas in Vancouver.
    With all the massive development in Portland, development fees should have paid for the roads. Collect the money form those who have it and not from a bunch of minimum wage workers…..

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Anne Hawley
      Anne Hawley April 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Should, should have, fails to do this or that thing, isn’t perfect.

      It is undeniably regressive, but Michael makes the important point that those least able to pay will at least get the greatest benefit from it. In a state without a sales tax, Oregon’s poor at least escape a regressive tax that afflicts the poor in almost all the rest of the country.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        dwk April 27, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        I Rode the 51 miles of DE Ronde this weekend. 51 miles of very expensive homes in the west hills on very crappy roads.
        You want the people who do the yard work at these homes to pay the gas taxes….

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Spiffy April 27, 2016 at 4:23 pm

          that just means they’ll start charging those rich people more for their services…

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Hey dwk, they do pay for the roads. Virtually every developer already pays a transportation system development charge that goes to city streets. The fee is calculated based on the trips generated by that new development and subject to huge legal scrutiny, so we couldn’t legally load all our road costs onto new development.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        dwk April 27, 2016 at 1:17 pm

        I know they have fees, they are not paying enough.
        You can also “legally” charge developers anything you want.
        This site and most of its commenters have appeared to be big Bernie Sanders supporters.
        Bernie would throw up at this kind of regressive taxation.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          maccoinnich April 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm

          If developers are not paying enough, what do you think is the right amount?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            dwk April 27, 2016 at 1:31 pm

            Enough to pay for the roads….
            Why should minimum wage workers pay to repave Williams for example when there are about 10 new high rise apartments built last year.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              maccoinnich April 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm

              “Enough” isn’t a very specific number. Right now PBOT has a surplus of SDC money (which by law have very particular limits on how they can be used). Maybe that indicates that SDCs are already at “enough”.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              nuovorecord April 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm

              “Enough” huh? So how exactly do you propose to raise that number? The reason Bernie is getting beaten by Hillary is that he’s all talk, no plan for making things happen.

              No, $0.10/gal. isn’t “enough.” But it’s a much needed step in the right direction. If you can get a better deal passed by the voters, there’s nothing stopping you.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                gutterbunnybikes April 27, 2016 at 8:34 pm

                He’s being beat by Hillary for one reason only, and that is because he’s not part of the DNC. He has never contributed to it and hasn’t made any promises to do so in the future. Which is why he never has never really gotten any superdelegates and why he has been able to sway any to his side even in the states where he has won in landslides. He’s never given them any money. And the DNC (RNC too) is all about the money and protecting their own.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                soren April 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

                the RNC and DNC are loyal servants of our lords and masters.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          J_R April 27, 2016 at 1:38 pm

          Under state law, transportation systems development charges (SDC) may only be levied for capacity improvements; they may not be used to fix existing deficiencies. The SDC fees are already substantial. Cities are already in competition with each other to make certain their fees are not too much higher than those of nearby cities. It’s exactly the same think that you raise in complaining that Washington residents who commute to Oregon but buy their gas at home.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm

            In Oregon, transportation SDC funds can only be used for the purposes you correctly listed, but only if agencies like PBOT also have enough “local match” funds for specifically listed projects. Currently PBOT has over $30 million in collected SDC funds they cannot use because they do not have enough matching funds. Many of the projects listed for the proposed gas tax are on the SDC project list, so some of the collected gas tax will be supplemented with some of the accumulated SDC funds, effectively doubling the value of the tax.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Pete April 27, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      About developer fees – Santa Clara, CA, for all of its years of silicon valley development, only enacted them two years ago, and the massive stadium development even got out of it. Money talks… well, you know the rest.

      At the same time, a year later, articles came out about the high cost of housing and the crisis being due to the additional development costs imposed by the fees. Seems you can’t win.

      I disagree with the “regressive” label being thrown around. If minimum wage workers have already bought into car ownership, the article does a good job of showing the costs are incremental – just as any sudden gas cost increases are due to oil market price manipulation anyway. Further, this is a city tax, and I’m willing to bet that people’s behavior – especially when gas is as cheap as it is now – is driven primarily by convenience and secondarily by cost. For example, I doubt people will drive out of their way to pay a few cents less for gas – from my observation they are more likely to choose the lowest grade and quality of gas, even if the long-term impact to their engines will cost them significantly more. People have pretty much decided which stations they will frequent, and if it was even worth collecting the data I’d doubt you’d see much change in that. If you don’t believe me, just watch how many people drive into Arco and fill their newer cars (with high-compression engines) with 86 octane fuel.

      People barely even notice price variations on a weekly basis – until they hear about it on the TV news and then get their panties in a bunch.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Chris I April 27, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      I don’t know, I certainly see a lot of Washington plates at the Costco gas in NE Portland. With Oregon’s lower state tax, I believe the overall price of gas will still be lower down here.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      meh April 28, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Let’s forget that those Washington drivers leave 9% of their income in Oregon and don’t get the benefits of doing so. Oregon is the winner.

      But let’s not forget that those who leave Portland to work will most likely fill up outside the city. Those who live on the periphery will make that short drive and save $0.10 a gallon.

      I’ve yet to see an estimated tax income in the voter’s pamphlet that has come to fruition. Their estimates will not be met.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Gary B April 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      I’m confused why you think that its the Washington (and other) commuters that are overloading roads, but you think SDCs on Portland development are the solution. We can’t levy SDCs on the suburbs–at least a local gas tax has a *chance* (however small) of collecting some money from the commuters.

      A regional gas tax properly allocated, or even better tolling and demand charges, would undoubtedly be preferred, but this is the hand we have to work with.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley April 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Well written and well reasoned. This article deserves wide circulation beyond the BikePortland community.

    The gas tax has my vote.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    soren April 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I’m voting yes because the benefits of the projects this tax will fund outweigh the harm of its regressive mechanism.

    I would still like to see more funding dedicated to projects that benefit low-income people (e.g. pedestrian and transit infrastructure) and less spent on road maintenance.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      I wish I could vote for it, but I’m no longer an Oregon voter. I live in a state that has a 2 cent sales tax on everything, staple foods included, to pay for more freeways – talk about regressive – on top of the usual 6.75% general sales tax. (Income taxes here are much lower than in Oregon.)

      The nice thing about a state gas tax, specific to Oregon (but nowhere else in the USA), is that the funds collected MUST go to transportation infrastructure – it can’t be siphoned (no pun intended) to non-transportation pet projects, let alone housing, police, etc.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Allan April 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm
  • Avatar
    Allan April 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Will we need to buy gas in Portland to pay this?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Yes, it’s a local tax. Is that what you mean?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 1:25 pm

        No, it’s actually a change in the Portland share of all state gas taxes collected. Basically, everyone who buys gas in Oregon pays the state gas tax at the pump, as well as a tiny portion of all the local gas taxes (many other cities in Oregon already have local gas taxes). By passing the tax rise, Portland will get roughly the equivalent of 10 cents more per gallon sold, based upon the number of all registered vehicle owners in Portland, as compared to all other jurisdictions in Oregon, for all gas sold in Oregon. You pay no matter where you buy your gas in Oregon. However, you don’t pay it if you buy your gas outside of Oregon.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Sigma April 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm

          You’re going to have to back that one up with a source, David. If what you said is true, then every other local jurisdiction that receives gas tax revenue would see a relative reduction in their allotment, none of whom have cried foul over this. I find that impossible to believe. I also don’t believe that Portland voters could unilaterally enact such a change in a statewide funding formula even if they wanted to.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:09 pm

            Sorry, I may have explained this badly. The overall gas tax rate statewide will rise slightly to reflect the projected revenue raised for Portland, but much less than 10 cents per gallon.

            Technically, according to the ballot item presented to Council, it’s a tax just on fuel sold within Portland, but administratively, it ends up being collected statewide, otherwise the administrative costs would far outweigh the funds actually collected, much like a tax on bikes.

            And if you don’t quite trust my explanation, go bug PBOT to explain this; or better yet, go bug our budding journalists to do the same.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
              Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm

              Already done. I too would be pretty surprised if there were any meaningful impact on gas prices in Medford, but it’d be nice to know.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

                Update: the city says David is mistaken. The tax would fall only on gasoline to be sold within Portland city limits.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:43 pm

                Bummer! Then the writer above was right, and Portland drivers will likely go out of their way to purchase gas in nearby Gresham, Beaverton, & Clackamas County. Why Portland isn’t implementing this the same way as other Oregon cities is beyond me. Given the collection method, I expect a much lower rate of return than the implied revenue projected, and much higher administrative costs.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm

                Michael, thank you for the clarification, by the way. You’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, as usual.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

                No prob! I’m always happy to check your crazy insider tips.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                gutterbunnybikes April 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm

                With my 25 gallon minivan, you think I’m gonna drive an extra 1/2 hour out of my way and back to save at best $2.50 on a fill-up, not to mention at 17 mpg city, waste a gallon of gas to do so.

                That’s perhaps the silliest argument against regional gas taxes ever.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                lop April 29, 2016 at 8:41 pm

                >Portland drivers will likely go out of their way to purchase gas in nearby Gresham, Beaverton, & Clackamas County.

                Oh they will not. Gas prices within Portland already vary by a lot more than 10 cents. If most drivers were so willing to scout around the city for the cheapest gas, that wouldn’t be true.

                Astro at SE Cesar Chavez and Gladstone: $2.15
                76 at SE Cesar Chavez and Division: $2.39

                http://www.gasbuddy.com/Station/95901
                http://www.gasbuddy.com/Station/128703

                That’s like a mile apart.

                If the tax is implemented you’ll get a couple stories right after of people leaving the city to fill up. And oregonlive comments for years about people saying they love going to XXX because they get to fill up outside of Portland on the way home and stiff the city for charging a gas tax. It’s not something that people will ever do in large numbers, even if some will scream about every time they do happen to fill up outside the city.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          J_R April 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm

          David, I think you are incorrect in claiming that a local gas tax results in a change in the distribution percentages of funds collected statewide. The ODOT website makes it clear that they “administer” the collection for two counties and several cities. The ODOT website includes detailed requirements for reporting of fuel sold by jurisdiction. There’s even an explanation that fuel “drawn” from the “Portland terminal” in Multnomah County that is taken outside the county is to be reported as an “export.” It appears to me that ODOT and the retailers keep track of every single gallon of gasoline and that local gas taxes are levied on only those purchases with the proceeds going directly to the city or county.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

            What you say is true in theory, but it isn’t how it actually works in reality. If Joe Blow of Portland buys gas in Gresham, and pays in cash (as many do), then how does ODOT know if it was Joe Blow who paid for the gas, or that he even lives in Portland? Administratively, this would be impossible. ODOT does keep very detailed records of how much gas was sold by whom and when, but not “to” whom. Hence the distribution formula.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              J_R April 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

              No, David. It’s where the gas was PURCHASED, not the purchaser’s residence that determines whether the local gas tax is collected. Simply put, buying a gallon of gas in one of the jurisdictions with a local gas tax causes that jurisdiction to get that amount extra.

              And the distribution formula for the state gas tax is completely separate. It is simply a method by which the state shares the state gas tax with cities and counties. That promise of sharing with cities and counties was part of the political compromise that was needed to get the legislators to approve the gas tax increases when they increased them in the 1970’s and 80’s.

              I suggest you spend more time on the ODOT website under the fuel section.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 28, 2016 at 5:53 am

                Actually, it is fascinating. Assuming you are right (and ODOT does agree with you, I admit), then the amount generated annually can be fairly easily calculated, using the collections of the 3 cent Multnomah County gas tax that already exists:

                $565K/month x 3.33 (to get to 10 cents) x 0.77 (Portland’s portion of the county population) x 12 months = $17 million/year revenue raised, +/-.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        SD April 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

        This reminds me of the Metro infographic in the earlier story today showing a net influx of cars into Portland from Washington, Clark and Clackamas counties. Not surprising at all, but it would be great if there were a mechanism to tie the tax to use.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          MaxD April 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm

          A gas tax is a great start. We should also be collecting more revenue from parking. Also, creating a “studded-tire Permit Zone” within Portland that required those using studded tires on City streets be required to buy a permit (similar to a snow-park permit) for the day,week, month or year. Finally, we could toll the bridges but the City cannot do that, currently.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            SD April 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

            Perhaps an employee parking tax that is required whether parking in public or private spaces.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Craig Gifen April 27, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    If they would just permanently park seven days a week a few traffic officers on Powell and Foster handing out tickets to all those people driving 50mph, they could fund a lot of safety projects.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      MaxD April 27, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Speed cameras and red-light cameras are much more efficient at this, freeing up traffic safety officers to go after distracted/intoxicated drivers

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala April 27, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Craig,
      how do you figure? Any citations we can look at in ORS?
      I’m not aware of any law that requires citation revenue, the small portion the City receives from the final adjudication, has to be spent on infrastructure improvements.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty April 27, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I’m totally in favor of most consumption taxes, and would double this one if I could.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      soren April 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      my support for regressive gas taxes increases when they become large enough to affect transportation choices. a $4 per gallon gas tax would *force* our society to build efficient and affordable transportation options.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm

        Or it might encourage car companies to develop cars with fewer cylinders, that burn less gasoline or diesel to go further, but with much higher air pollution. To get around the emission requirements, the car companies could then lie about their emissions to regulators. But this would never happen, of course.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Pete April 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

          Or it might encourage fuel companies to water down their gas with corn.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty April 27, 2016 at 3:04 pm

            Ethanol is a pretty bad choice both environmentally and from a food availability standpoint.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 3:19 pm

              That’s kinda the point here. As you artificially raise the price of gas through taxes to support progressive purposes, the market tends to promote ways to evade those purposes by raising pollution levels or by lying to regulators, which has happened repeatedly in Europe, a region with already very high gas taxes.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm

                Or just sucking it up… Europeans drive a lot more than we think they do.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              El Biciclero April 28, 2016 at 10:09 am

              How about from a profit standpoint; that’s what really counts…

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 28, 2016 at 10:36 am

                The reason we use ethanol in gasoline is not profit — it is government rules that require it for environmental benefits that seemed more compelling when the laws were passed than they do now, in hindsight.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Chris I April 27, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        IMO, regressive taxes are okay when they are a “sin tax”. Do we tax cigarettes and alcohol on a graduated scale? No. We want to discourage use, so they get taxed evenly at the point of sale. Gas should be treated the same way.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          El Biciclero April 28, 2016 at 10:12 am

          But at the moment, there is no “need” to smoke or drink, except for personal enjoyment (or addiction). But our design of cities and suburbs, and the roads that connect them, nearly forces some people to drive if they are going to meet the expectations (based on assumptions that “everyone” drives) of employers. Fundamental structural and attitude changes have to happen within society at large in order to be able to stop foisting our collective addiction to driving on those who can least afford it.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            lop April 29, 2016 at 8:53 pm

            Kind of like the way cigarette taxes fall disproportionately on the addicted poor?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I would vote Yes if I still lived in Oregon. This is important.

    And the cost doesn’t entirely hit taxpayers. The vast majority of people don’t seem to get this, but any economist can tell you that added taxes (or any added cost) are shared among the producer and the consumer, based on the relative elasticities of supply and demand.

    When a price goes up, people consume less. Price is a function of demand vs. supply, and demand goes down faster than producers can cut supply. It’s only a small incremental drop, but it is real. So even though the tax is 10 cents, ultimately the price is only likely to end up 3-4 cents higher than it otherwise would have been without the tax. Initially gas stations will jack prices 10 cents or even more to “send a message”, but they won’t be able to sustain it. One by one they will cave and prices will return to equilibrium based on the new supply curve.

    So if consumers are only paying 3-4 cents out of the 10 cent tax, where did the other 6-7 cents come from? The producers’ profit margin, that’s where. And THAT is why oil companies freak out about gas taxes. They know the taxes cost them more than they cost us.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Bald One April 27, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    What does it cost to build a neighborhood greenway? Doesn’t seem like much, not sure “build” is the correct term. Most of the ones I ride on are “built” with a few sharrows, a few turned stop signs, perhaps a few feet of curbing here and there, a few signs, some green paint. What’s the big expense? Let’s just do this.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      The big expense of neighborhood greenways is traffic signals that let you cross busy streets. A full traffic signal costs about $250,000, and you get a busy street every mile or so.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala April 27, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      B,
      retrofits could be quite low, while a new greenway that needs a signal might be quite high. A rough average is about $200,000 per mile.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    rh April 27, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Meh, 10 cents is OK to me. I’m sure if I just kept my car tires at the proper pressure, it would even it all out with better mpg. Then again, I heard hypermiling is pretty effective too.
    http://www.wikihow.com/Hypermile

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Improved my fuel economy by 30%. Back when I drove enough for it to matter very much, and at that time it amounted to saving a tank a month.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      gutterbunnybikes April 27, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      The biggest change you can make to your car for better fuel economy is to “adjust the nut behind the steering wheel”.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Pete April 27, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      When my wife and I swap driving on long trips, she absolutely hates it when I reset the second trip meter so we get to compare average MPH on a per driver basis… I should probably stop doing that. 🙂

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        gutterbunnybikes April 28, 2016 at 6:21 am

        Ha! I do that too, with the same kind of response from the wife.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Todd Hudson April 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I’m on the fence, mostly because the current PBOT commissioner has done a incredibly poor job as an elected official, which is in turn reflected in the Bureau’s poor performance. If Wheeler didn’t backpedal on his commitment to taking control of PBOT, I’d think differently. More money won’t fix poor leadership.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    pdxtex April 27, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    they should start with banning studded tires in urban areas. that would be free and save tons of wear and tear on the roads. who uses those anyway? your subie driver, skiing neighbor. get some normal snow tires. they work just fine.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      MaxD April 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I have been passed by small SUV taxis with studded tires!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Chris I April 27, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Come on, they totally need those for the one icy day we get in Portland every 3 years.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      The solution to excessive studded-tire use, as with excessive vehicle/gasoline use, is a tax. $50-100 per tire solves the problem:
      – It is enough to cover the damage done by studs.
      – It incentivizes the vast majority of most current studded tire users to switch to studless.
      – It allows the few who REALLY want/need studs to still have them.
      – It avoids ripping Oregon’s already gaping urban-rural divide even further open.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Beth H April 27, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Just want to be clear — would this be applied at the pump, or in a flat tax on everyone the way the arts tax currently is?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      At the pump. (Or actually, before it even gets to the pump and then priced into each gallon.) Just like every gas tax.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kyle Banerjee April 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    soren
    my support for regressive gas taxes increases when they become large enough to affect transportation choices. a $4 per gallon gas tax would *force* our society to build efficient and affordable transportation options.

    At the rate we go through oil, it will eventually become scarce and expensive. Given the total cost of owning even an old car, I don’t find arguments that a few cents gas tax imposes a real hardship based more on emotion than fact, especially since gas is at historically low levels.

    What I find amazing is how many people are willing to drive in this town. There are so many chokepoints and traffic is so crazy slow cycling is almost always faster.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      MaxD April 27, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      I agree Kyle! And I wish his was a 10% tax, not a $0.10

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      By the time oil is scarce, the outdoor winter temps will be hovering around 90. We can’t wait that long.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Byron Palmer April 27, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    I would highly recommend looking at the City Club report on the financing of roads. A gas tax may not be the best but there are no really good ways to do this. Everyone wants better roads but no one wants to pay for them.

    It would be lovely to capture part of this from people from outside Portland but that is difficult and failed with the Sellwood bridge. Toll every exit off I-5 and I-205? Good luck with that one.

    And the idea that our commissioners have failed to do the right things to fund the roads; I suggest you look at the report and find that there is little that could be diverted. Maybe cut the police force or have them charge for every service, cut the fire department unless you take out a policy with them, charge for using the parks? Don’t fund the homeless programs? To come up with the money that this would generate would severely impact programs if they had to be cut. Saying that the money is there you have to prove that by taking money from some program currently getting the money. And you can’t touch the utility budgets!

    My best idea, which will never see the light of day, is to remove I-405 and sell the land to generate the money. Then move on to 26, I-5, etc.

    So unless you can come up with something better, vote for this or don’t use the streets!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      soren April 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      but there are no really good ways to do this

      i can think of lots of “good” ways to do this. for example, a progressive income tax where people at 0-80% of median household income would be in the 0% bracket would be an awesome way to do this. (it’s really ridiculous that i will never pay a cent of this tax even though i own and drive a car.)

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm

        I was on a committee working with Novick on various taxing schemes. Most participants were in favor of a progressive income tax, but Novick and his staff were “poll-driven”, and their polls indicated that voters would most likely approve a gas tax over an income tax increase, to pay for transportation. My guess, which isn’t worth much, is that if the gas tax fails, PBOT will next try a city-wide parking permit program before it considers a progressive income tax again.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Other issues aside, selling assets to pay for operating expenses is not sustainable.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Ann April 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    The voters approved money for roads several times in the past decades with promises that the roads would be repaired. They weren’t. What makes it different this time? I’m not voting for it. Let the city show some ccountability first!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Ann,

      You might be interested in this “Back to Basics” street maintenance information posted on the City of Portland’s website https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/451483.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      This is true (edit: as Paikiala notes below, except for the part about voters) and it was a huge blow to the city’s credibility. The city looted a bunch of utility fees that were supposed to go to streets. The streets have been paying for it ever since.

      The difference this time is that the Oregon constitution requires auto-related fees such as gas taxes to go toward road improvements, so the city will have to do so. That’s a key reason the Portland Business Alliance (the chamber of commerce) endorsed this gas tax despite opposing an income tax in 2014.

      You might wonder if there’s still a risk that this money could free up existing money that could then be looted and sent to other non-street projects. That’s not actually the case here, because (unlike most transportation departments) Portland’s transportation bureau is funded almost entirely through gas taxes and parking fees. Essentially all of PBOT’s revenue must be spent on streets.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Nishant April 27, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        Do you know how many times the city has violated statutes such as these and cited by the auditor for that?

        All Hales and Novick have offered in return is a wave of the hand. These two are not to be trusted. A new commissioner with credibility is what we need, not shoving more money for Novick to waste and mismanage.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        maccoinnich April 27, 2016 at 6:20 pm

        “looted a bunch of utility fees that were supposed to go to streets”

        I don’t think that’s quite fair. In 1988 the City set a budget policy of using a percentage of the utility license fee (which goes into the General Fund) for street maintenance. Shortly afterwards the voters of Oregon passed Measure 5, followed afterwards by Measures 47 and 50. These all negatively impacted the amount of property tax revenue going into the General Fund. I don’t see how the subsequent City Councils can have been expected to be bound by budget policies created before the tax revolts of the 1990s.

        The three major beneficiaries of the General Fund are Police, Fire and Parks (in that order of magnitude). The utility license fee currently generates about $85 million in revenue. If we were to assume that 28% of that should be going to PBOT (per the 1988 policy) that would mean a transfer of $24 million a year from the General Fund to PBOT. There’s no individual Bureau receiving that much money from the General Fund, other than the three mentioned above. Therefore any argument that the utility license fee should have been used for street maintenance is essentially an argument that the Police, Fire or Parks operating budgets should have been lower than they were. I don’t think that would have proven particularly popular with the voters.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          jeff April 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

          its quite fair if you know anything about the legacy of Sam Adams..

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            maccoinnich April 28, 2016 at 5:06 pm

            Feel free to explain.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Jeff April 30, 2016 at 9:26 am

              easy. misappropriation of transportation and water bureau funds for years to fund whatever project city counsel thought were fun at the time.
              basic infrastructure maintenance projects were delayed…so you now have city counseling begging for more money to budget shortfalls which Adam’s and his counsel created… you new to town?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                soren April 30, 2016 at 11:07 am

                so… no details, no numbers and no links/citations.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Mike April 27, 2016 at 10:30 pm

        The city has broken the rules so many times and now you want to trust them with millions more. Their track record is absolutely horrible. Unless they can improve their track record I wouldn’t give them the shirt off my back. No way. I am voting no!!!!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala April 27, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Ann,
      Which ones did the voters approve?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jon April 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I drive an electric car and ride my bicycle but I will be voting NO. This will just allow the city council to shift money to their pet projects like they always do. They have had 20 years to fund streets and have not done it. There is no way they deserve to get more money to waste.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Champs April 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    My yes vote can only be in good conscience because it’s also the chance to vote no confidence in city leadership and the transportation bureau it runs.

    PBOT didn’t understand that Clinton was a priority over Ankeny, so it reallocated—but isn’t it *still* important? An activist meeting is not action.

    On the Lovejoy viaduct, PBOT has simply given up.

    I get it, bridges are expensive, but a decade later, not a single feasible alternative to completing the NW Flanders greenway has been explored.

    BikePortland, 6/22/2007: “City working on fix for Naito Gap”

    What’s going on with the 20s Greenway?

    Does anyone understand the street design of SE 52nd?

    These are not daydreams or moonshots. These are things actually proposed, sometimes even acted upon in recent years. All of them under our “innovative commissioner system” with a raft of leaders that should be pushed off a dock without a paddle. So by all means, vote yes, but be wary of the incumbents.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Some good cautions here, IMO.

      The 20s Greenway, like the 50s Greenway and the first phase of the downtown protected bike lane network, is going years between approval and construction because it’s federally funded, which means a slow and onorous bid process. One of the big advantages of this local money is that locally funded projects can be built much faster.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      EmilyG May 2, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Champs, if you’re referring to the Ankeny meeting last Wednesday, that was actually an open house by PBOT. Since BikeLoudPDX has been very involved in advocating for diverters and traffic calming on Ankeny, and has been doing outreach around it, we created that Facebook event so people would know about it. Sheila Parrot is in charge of the Ankeny project, and a new diverter, more speedbumps, an improved diverter at 21st, and ‘Bikes may use full lane’ signs will be installed before school starts in the fall.

      The money for Ankeny is coming out of PBOT’s small projects funding. I don’t know where the money for Clinton came from- BikeLoud and others put enough pressure on that the Mayor that he told PBOT to go ahead and put in the diverters. That’s why Clinton’s diverters went in first- more political pressure on that project, whereas the effort around Ankeny has not been as big. This is partially because the Clinton project helped pave the way for adding more trial diverters to other greenways, and also because the Buckman neighborhood is extremely supportive of traffic calming on Ankeny, so there has not been much controversy.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Nishant April 27, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    The best argument against this is not its regressive nature, but that Novick will waste this money like he has wasted all budget surpluses by hiring unneeded headcount and other indulging in other vanities like those creative sidewalks. It is also offensive that he makes it seem like part of the money would be used pave streets when in fact that 56% paving goal is only a target at best.

    This is the same Novick who was unaware of tens of millions in uncollected parking dues that swelled on his watch.

    Why should we trust anything in this proposal then?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    biker April 27, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Why not tax gas per dollar as opposed to per gallon? With a low percentage tax (2%?), the voter impact would be more agreeable now, but income would inevitably rise with rising gas prices.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      It’s just a four-year tax, but that’s plenty of time to come up with a better version next round.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      GlowBoy April 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Because a tax per dollar would constitute a sales tax, and that is currently unconstitutional in Oregon.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        J_R April 28, 2016 at 7:38 am

        If a percentage tax is unconstitutional, how do you explain the existence of the lodging tax levied in Portland? It is a percentage.

        From the City’s website: “Lodging establishments are required by Portland and Multnomah County Transient Lodgings Tax Laws to collect a total of 11.5% occupancy taxes from guests. Lodging establishments send reports with the taxes collected to the Revenue Division.

        “Of the 11.5% tax collected, 6% goes to the City of Portland: 5% to the General Fund and 1% to Travel Portland. The remaining 5.5% goes to Multnomah County: 2.5% to the Convention Center Phase II, .275% to hotel/motel operators, and 2.725% to Convention Center Phase I and related operations.”

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          GlowBoy April 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm

          I’m not sure of all the nuances. I think sales taxes may be prohibited on goods but allowed on services.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Taxing Lots April 27, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Why not a tax on parking spaces? Assume PDX is below the national average and has about 2 parking spaces per capita. That’s about a million spaces. Tax them at $20 each per year and you got $20 million. It’s fair, city’s lose a ton of money by space wasted for parking rather than buildings. Free parking generates traffic that tears up roads. Parking owners (including the city) could easily make up the cost by charging a little per space.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) April 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Neat idea! But since we’ll need way more than $20 million a year, why not tax both gas and parking? One of those is on the ballot, the other one isn’t yet.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Spiffy April 27, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I already planned to vote for it… I’d vote for it even if it was $5 a gallon, because that’s what it really needs to be…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Dwaine Dibbly April 27, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I buy about 50 gallons of gas/year, perhaps half in Portland. That tax is a great idea!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Pat Franz April 27, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    I don’t buy gas very often, but I’ll bet I’m not alone in being beyond caring if the price seems $.10 higher than before. Gas prices go up and down all the time by way more than that. If “the market” decides to bump the price of gas $.10, no one would blink. No one. It happens all the time.

    And when “the market” bumps the price, none of it comes back to you in any way. All that little extra goes to funding things you probably don’t agree with.

    And how else should we pay for things we want? In a roughly fair way, gas consumption is proportional to how much you drive, how much road you take up, and how much damage you do. Not exactly, but better than all sorts of other way more complicated schemes.

    So why the whinging? Do you want better roads or not? Do you think it should be free? Do you think someone else should pay for it?

    Get real. Gas taxes ought to be 4X what they are now.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    JeffS April 27, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I’m having a hard time with the opposition to this on regressive grounds.

    Traffic is traffic. Wear is wear. A progressive driving/gas/parking fee feels like subsidized/encouraged driving. It gets complicated when you factor in lower income residents living further away of course.

    I’m struggling to understand why diesel is excluded. From a wear standpoint, these vehicles contribute much more to the problem. It would probably be easier for these vehicles to avoid the tax if they wanted. Personally, those costs would get passed down to me much more than gas costs, which I wouldn’t be opposed to.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    not that Mark April 28, 2016 at 6:44 am

    This tax by law will have to be put towards PBOT. It is being presented and sold as an additional $16M annually to improve the streets. But about $29M of the $257M PBOT budget is general fund dollars that can be taken away by city council, and aren’t even committed to the next four years. Hales has asked all bureau’s to propose a 5% budget reduction to fund his $30M homeless plans. So it’s very unlikely that PBOT’s budget will increase by $16M.

    Without a guarantee that the new tax will be a $16M increase over the current total budget, this will be hard to vote for.

    Here’s where I got the budget:

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/539188

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    BJCefola April 28, 2016 at 8:16 am

    The gas tax isn’t progressive, but it’s a lot less regressive than some of the other measures considered (who wants to go back to talking about per household fees?) And like it or not, car drivers make up the bulk of road users. It isn’t unreasonable to ask them to pay the cost of that use.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    SE April 28, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I just RELUCTANTLY voted YES on this. Exempting trucks and the overhead involved, + the possibility of funds being hijacked weighed against it. But in the end, something for bikes/safety outweighed my concerns.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    jeff April 28, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    and where is the evidence that our city counsel won’t misappropriate all of their shiny new funds? city hall has a terrible track record with such things. more people will just buy gas outside of Multnomah county if possible. I’ll be voting no.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tomas April 28, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I’m going to vote no on this tax. Taxing someone for something they don’t own? Not down with that.

    Put the tax on fuel, insurance, registration, or whatever other fees vehicle owners already pay. Make US pay more.

    yes, I own a car and think this tax unfair. Sure, we all need access to the roads and your income level should not have any influence on your access to these roads, but the more vehicles you drive, the more fuel you buy, and the more miles you drive should determine the tax level.

    If I didn’t own a car, I would not want to pay this gas tax the same way I would not want to pay the taxes on weed, cigarettes, or the many other items we tax individually.

    Lame.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Eric Leifsdad May 2, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Say what? The vote is about a per-gallon tax on fuel. Sounds like you’re saying you would be a yes on that?

      Some of the explanation talks about per-household regressive yadda yadda… based on people choosing to not change their driving habits — it’s not actually that complicated.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Pat Franz April 28, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Parking Taxes

    Seems to me if you were going to tax for parking cars in presently unmetered spaces, the thing to do would be to have parking tags. Pay one amount, and you can park in any unmetered space. Pay another (much larger) amount, and you can park in metered spaces without paying every time. Make the tags movable from vehicle to vehicle so you don’t have to have one for every vehicle if you have off street parking. If you’re a visitor, you get 3 notices and then you get a ticket. Make every parking meter dispense tags, and encourage stores and gas stations to sell them. Provide the meter readers with smartphones or readers that scan the QR codes on the tags and read the license plates, no need to write anything down.

    A little complicated, but it starts to connect the use of public space with the cost to provide and maintain the public space. The break in that connection is what’s behind all this.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mike Sanders April 29, 2016 at 12:30 am

    The Oregonian’s rationale for voting against this measure was just plain outrageous. Vote the gas tax down in Portland, and the chances of getting a transportation bill thru the State legislature would improve. Oh, really?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dan A May 2, 2016 at 8:53 am

      I would do the opposite of whatever the O suggests, regarding pretty much everything. I can’t recall an opinion from their editorial board that I’ve agreed with.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    James April 30, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Voting no. This city doesn’t manage its money correctly. $26 million surplus but millions are going to the homeless instead. It’s truly sick.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      GlowBoy May 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Millions are going to the homeless? Seriously?

      Oh wait, nowwwww I get it. They’re camping on the sidewalks so they can be first in line in the morning to pick up these huge checks, amounting to millions, that you describe. 😉

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Eric Leifsdad May 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Even with that logic, it makes better sense to vote yes because most people don’t manage their gasoline correctly. Speeding downhill to a red light: absolutely disgusting.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Dan A May 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm

        Thanks to global warming we can look forward to a lot more people sitting in parked cars with the engine running so they can have the AC on.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar