Council to consider limited street fee measure
The City Council will vote Wednesday on submitting a measure to the Nov. 4 general election ballot to restrict funds raised by a new transportation user fee to transportation projects.
The council is not scheduled to consider the details of such a fee until Nov. 12, however, a little more than a week after the election. And the council has also said it is also willing to consider various taxes to fund the projects.
The staggered vote schedule is the result of a series of last-minute changes made by Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, who are developing the funding proposals. They had originally agreed to have the council vote on a three-part package on June 4 the ballot measure, a residential street fee, and a fee on businesses, governments and nonprofit organization, including schools and churches.
But after hearing from many Portlanders either puzzled or opposed to the proposal at the first public hearing on May 29, Hales postponed the vote on the business, government and nonprofit fee. He then postponed the vote on the residential fee at the June 4 hearing.
At the hearing, Novick convinced the council to allow a wide range of funding sources to be considered between then and Nov. 12, including a motor vehicle fee, a gas tax, an income tax, a sales tax and a tax on business profits.
But the council is still scheduled to consider placing the measure on the November ballot on June 11. As currently written, it would restrict funds raised by the fee to transportation purposes, including associated administrative cost, with a majority to be used for maintenance and safety improvement projects.
Hales and Novick do not want to submit the revenue measure to voters. Commissioners Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman have so far said they believe Portlanders should be asked to approve it. Commissioner Amanda Fritz has not yet said where she stands on that question.
Other major items on this week's council agenda include:
An agreement to accept $5.2 million from the Portland Public Schools construction bond levy to identify, prioritize and fund agreed-upon transportation safety improvements.
A franchise with Google to construct and operate its ultra-high speed broadband network called Google Fiber using city streets for a period of 10 years.
An amendment to Portland Housing Bureau rules to exempt affordable housing projects from System Development Charges instead of waiving them.
A new streetscape and transportation plan for Southeast Foster Road between Powell Boulevard and 92nd Avenue that would cut the number of motor vehicle lanes in half, among other things. For more details, see this previous story: portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/223508-85164-vehicle-lanes-to-shrink-along-foster-road-
To read the complete council agenda, go to: www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=26997JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT