County receives another $3M in road funds
Because of statewide gas taxes and increased vehicle registration fees, Clackamas County will receive an additional $3 million in the upcoming year to fund projects that improve the safety and condition of roads they maintain.
County officials have not yet determined which roads in the Estacada area and other locations will be a focus. Funds will be used to maintain and pave roads, maintain bridges, improve roadway safety and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The money Clackamas County receives is expected to increase each year until 2027, when the additional amount is projected to be approximately $13 million. That figure is expected to continue in future years.
The amount of funding counties will receive will be based on the number of registered vehicles in each area. The increased statewide vehicle registration fees and gas taxes were approved by the Oregon Legislature in 2017 and went into effect on Monday, Jan. 1.
Per state law, these funds must be used for transportation projects. The county is responsible for roads in unincorporated areas.
Mike Bezner, assistant director of transportation and development for Clackamas County, noted that the additional funding will not be enough to bring all of the local roads the county maintains to ideal conditions.
"Our projections show that we still won't have the funds to work on all of our neighborhood streets, which make up about half of our 1,400-mile road system," Bezner wrote in a press release. "We'll be able to catch a few local roads when we work on adjacent arterial or collector roads, but otherwise we will not be able to significantly improve low-volume roads in neighborhoods except for pothole repairs."
In 2016, Clackamas County voters said "no" to a 6 cent per gallon gas tax. At that time, county officials said they were $17 million short on funds needed to maintain roads. Additionally, they estimated that preventive maintenance to bring all county roads determined to be in good or fair condition to excellent condition would cost $40 million.