Portland Considering 'Street Fee' for Residents and Businesses

The Portland City Council moved quickly in proposing and revising a "street fee" to finance repairs on the city's crumbling roads. Now a more realistic calendar seems to be in place for considering the fee on residents and businesses.
May 30, 2014, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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David Wilson

Brad Schmidt reported on the details of the "street fee" (the Portland Bureau of Transportation's website calls it a "Transportation User Fee") when city officials announced the proposed charge on residents and businesses last week: "The 'transportation user fee' would cost the typical household $11.56 a month; poorer households would pay $8.09 a month and owners of apartment complexes would be charged $6.79 per unit, with a discount for multifamily complexes that cater to lower-income residents. Businesses and other government institutions, including city agencies and school districts, also would be charged."

According to the initial draft proposal for the fee, "at least 80 percent of revenue from the new fee would go for maintenance and safety improvements. Up to 20 percent could be spent on 'other transportation services,' including paving unimproved streets, mass transit and covering administrative costs."

Since the initial announcement, the City Council has quickly tweaked and prodded the fee. Schmidt wrote another article detailing the how and why of why the fee ended up on the fast track of the city's legislative agenda. The calendar for the fee has now changed, as have the details. Now, "instead of charging homeowners a monthly fee of $11.56 a month, the city would incrementally raise fees annually from $6 to $9 to $12."  Moreover, "Residential fees wouldn't go into effect unless the city approves the proposed charges on business. Both sets of fees would begin July 1, 2015."

In yet another report, Andrew Theen provides a breakdown of how the revenue generated by the fee would be spent by the city.

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Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 in The Oregonian
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