Direct Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop an implementation plan for a suite of equitable mobility fees and investments based on principles recommended by the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility Task Force


WHEREAS, on June 30, 2020, in Resolution No. 37494, City Council declared a climate emergency and called for an immediate mobilization effort to restore a safe climate and reduce carbon emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050; and

WHEREAS, Portland and Oregon are already experiencing the impacts of climate change with record setting heat, flooding, wildfires and other extreme weather events;

WHEREAS, individuals living on low-incomes and BIPOC communities are more likely to be impacted by extreme weather events, are more likely to live in areas with less greenspace and are more vulnerable to heat-related and respiratory illnesses;

WHEREAS, transportation accounts for 43 percent of carbon emissions in our region, the largest single source, and transportation emissions are rising; and

WHEREAS, the Portland region population continues to grow, with 600,000 new residents projected to live in the area by 2040; and

WHEREAS, even with existing policies and investments, additional car trips are expected to significantly increase congestion rates within ten years; and

WHEREAS, we cannot build our way out of congestion, and increasing road space is proven to induce more driving and exacerbate mobility inequities; and

WHEREAS, meeting our climate goals will require reducing vehicle miles driven, shifting trips that remain on the roads to electric vehicles or cleaner fuels, and planning and building connected communities; and

WHEREAS, car trips also cause traffic violence and increasing congestion costs both individuals and businesses time and money; and

WHEREAS, the inequities in our current transportation system—including longer travel times, less safe road conditions and climate change effects that disproportionately impact Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), Portlanders living on low incomes and persons with disabilities— will worsen if we do not more effectively manage demand for our road space, reduce miles driven and transition the vehicles that remain on the road to low and zero carbon fuels; and

WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to improve our transportation system to address these challenges, and existing strategies are not making enough progress on improving equity, mobility, climate, safety, and economic outcomes; and

WHEREAS, evidence from cities around the world that have implemented pricing show that it can be an effective demand management tool and help support more multimodal options, leading to a safer, healthier, equitable, and more climate-friendly system; and

WHEREAS, PBOT’s evaluation of transportation demand management strategies through the Way to Go Plan also concluded pricing is an effective strategy for reducing vehicle miles traveled and improving mobility; and

WHEREAS, Portland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy (Resolution #37255) prioritizes the electrification of shared use vehicles, bikes and buses to reduce the need for personal vehicle ownership and improve air quality; and

WHEREAS, the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have had tremendous impacts on community members and the city, including rapid and ongoing implications for public health, the economy and the transportation system, further worsening inequities across our community; and

WHEREAS, traffic patterns and travel behaviors may continue to change as a result of the pandemic, and as new patterns are created, this is a critical time to consider what policies and interventions will help reduce vehicle miles driven and advance our climate and equitable mobility goals, rather than lead to more driving and congestion in the future; and

WHEREAS, the pandemic has also intensified structural challenges with transportation funding, and Council directed PBOT to work with various stakeholders to develop new revenue sources that reflect the City’s policy goals through the FY 2022-23 budget process; and

WHEREAS, on July 10, 2019, City Council directed PBOT and BPS, in Resolution No. 37442, to: “Form a dedicated task force to study and recommend both near- and long-term strategies for 'Pricing for Equitable Mobility’”; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force was established in January 2020 and comprised of 19 community members representing diverse perspectives, interests and expertise from across our community; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force met monthly between January 2020 and July 2021 to consider if and how new pricing strategies could potentially be used more intentionally to improve mobility, address the climate crisis and advance equity for people historically underserved by the transportation system in Portland, including, but not limited to, BIPOC, low-income Portlanders and people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force developed an Equitable Mobility Framework to guide policy analysis, which calls for evaluating impacts to moving people and goods, sustainability and health, safety, economic opportunity, and equitable planning processes, while prioritizing extending benefits, reducing disparities and improving safety for Black people, Indigenous people and People of color (BIPOC communities), as well as people with disabilities, low-income individuals, multi-lingual individuals and displaced communities; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force analyzed a range of pricing strategies—including parking pricing, fees on vehicle-based commercial services, highway pricing, cordons and road usage charges—using the Equitable Mobility Framework; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force considered modeling results from Metro’s Regional Congestion Pricing Study, which concluded congestion pricing has the potential to help the greater Portland region meet the priorities outlined in its 2018 Regional Transportation Plan, including reducing congestion and improving mobility, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and improving equity and safety outcomes, depending on how pricing is implemented in the region; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force voted to adopt their final recommendations to City leadership on July 12, 2021, and concluded pricing holds promise as a strategy to help move people and goods in a more efficient, climate-friendly, healthy, safe and equitable way if it is designed, implemented and adjusted with intention; and

WHEREAS, the POEM Task Force recommended the City urgently advance pricing options for equitable mobility policies, noting failure to act will only worsen the challenges we experience today; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Portland accepts the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility final report and recommendations from the POEM Task Force attached as exhibit A; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS are directed to develop an implementation plan for a suite of equitable mobility fees and investments based on the nearer-term strategies elevated in the POEM Task Force recommendations (including fees on private for-hire trips, urban delivery, private parking lots and flexible commuter benefits requirements); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS must develop this suite of fees and investments in alignment with the principles recommended by the POEM Task Force, including prioritizing outcomes of demand management, climate benefit and equity; providing low-income exemptions to the degree possible; investing pricing revenue in strategies that further expand equitable mobility; and reducing technology and enforcement burdens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS should consider how, in addition to managing demand, these fees and incentives can help facilitate the transition to zero emission and low carbon fuels; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT is directed to determine how to accelerate parking policies that reduce vehicle miles driven and climate impacts while advancing equitable mobility as defined in the Equitable Mobility Framework (moving people and goods, safety, sustainability and health, and economic opportunity), including performance-based parking management and the expansion of priced parking districts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT should explore models for unified financial assistance system for households living on low incomes that could be applied across pricing programs and transportation services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS are directed to advocate for equitable mobility principles in state-led conversations around tolling as outlined in the POEM Task Force letter adopted March 9, 2021, including: prioritizing the goal of managing traffic demand, providing exemptions for drivers living on low incomes, designing technology and payment systems to reduce barriers for individuals with limited access to bank accounts, committing toll revenue to support multimodal travel alternatives as well as potential traffic diversion impacts, and involving local and regional stakeholders in revenue allocation decisions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS are also directed to advocate for equitable mobility principles in state-led conversations around road usage charging; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City should consider how to influence Oregon State constitutional restrictions on expenditure of revenues raised from taxes levied on the use or operation of motor vehicles in order to increase the ability to fully and equitably fund all modes of transportation and transition to a cleaner transportation system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS are directed to continue planning and policy development work related to longer-term pricing strategies, including dynamic parking pricing, locally controlled road usage charges, and a Central City cordon; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS are directed to advance all pricing policies alongside complementary strategies that expand transit, service operations and infrastructure; bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and options; safety infrastructure and programs; robust financial incentives for multimodal travel; electric vehicle access and charging; development of affordable housing near transportation multimodal options; and land use policy that supports equitable access to complete communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT is directed to collect data to inform equity analyses of any future pricing policies and the City should study the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobility; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT is directed to conduct further community engagement to inform the development of nearer- and longer-term pricing strategies.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that while PBOT and BPS are directed to prioritize demand management and achieving climate and equity outcomes through pricing, pricing also generates revenue and the reinvestment of revenue is a critical way to make pricing strategies equitable, and therefore staff must also consider the role these strategies can play in addressing structural funding challenges and generating revenue that is aligned with policy goals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that PBOT and BPS are directed to return to council within 9 months with an update on all strategies and an implementation plan for the nearer-term equitable mobility fees and investments.

Impact Statement

Document History

Item 742 Time Certain in October 13, 2021 Council Agenda

City Council


  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea

Requested Agenda Type

Time Certain

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Requested Start Time
10:05 am
Time Requested
90 Minutes
Confirmed Time Certain