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Proposed Measure 26-245 - Portland's Local Gas Tax Measure

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A teal Fixing Our Streets logo with the phrase, "your dime at work" imposed over a large orange vehicle paving a street.
This information was reviewed by the Oregon Elections Division for compliance with ORS 260.432.
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The Purpose of this document is to provide a summary of Portland’s proposed gas tax measure. Voters will have the opportunity to consider the measure on the May 21, 2024 ballot. If passed, the measure would cost Portland taxpayers $0.10 per gallon of gas purchased in Portland and the tax revenue would be used to fund certain projects prioritized by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).

Background

If the measure passes the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) would use the tax revenue to fund basic maintenance and safety services. The measure would cost Portland taxpayers $0.10 per gallon of gas purchased.

Portland voters originally passed the four year $0.10 per gallon gas tax in 2016. The gas tax was renewed for an additional four years in 2020.In May 2024, Portland voters will have the opportunity to consider the gas tax measure which would continue for four additional years if passed.

The May 2024 gas tax measure would continue Portland’s gas tax at $0.10 per gallon. If the measure passes, the average driver would continue to pay roughly $5 per month for the tax. This figure is based on driving 12,000 miles a year in a vehicle with a fuel efficiency of 20 miles per gallon, with all fuel purchased within the city of Portland.

If the measure passes, projects funded with the resulting tax revenue would be reviewed by a community oversight committee.

If passed it is estimated the $0.10 gas tax would generate $70.5 million over four years for street maintenance and safety projects as detailed below. If the measure does not pass, the tax would not be authorized and the proposed projects would not be completed as planned. The current $0.10 per gallon gas tax expires December 31, 2024.

The following is a summary of the funding allocation if the measure passes:

Paving Projects ($23.5 million):

  • Paving busy streets and neighborhood greenways ($19 million)
  • Paving local streets ($4.5 million)
Pie chart with three equal sections as follows: Community Street Services, $23.5 million; Traffic Safety Projects, $23.5 million; Paving Projects, $23.5 million.

Traffic Safety Projects ($23.5 million):

  • Safety on busy streets ($9 million)
  • Safety on neighborhood streets ($6 million)
  • Safe Routes to School ($6 million)
  • Additional safety enhancements ($2.5 million)

Community Street Services ($23.5 million):

  • Potholes ($5.5 million)
  • Signals and lighting maintenance ($3.5 million)
  • Gravel street service ($4 million)
  • Base repair ($4 million)
  • Safer intersections ($2 million)
  • Pedestrian, bicycle, and public space retrofits ($2.5 million)
  • Residential street safety and traffic calming ($2 million)

Paving Projects ($23.5 million)

  • Paving busy streets and neighborhood greenways ($19 million)
  • Paving local streets ($4.5 million)

What is it? If the measure passes, tax revenue would be focused on preventive maintenance like grind-and-inlay and sealing treatments that preserve and extend the life of Portland roads. This would include reconstructing corner curb ramps to improve accessibility and upgrading pavement markings to current standards. It also would include installing high-visibility crosswalks or adding striped buffers to bike lanes where space allows.

How would funding be allocated? If the measure passes, $23.5 million would be used for paving projects, spread approximately equally across the four new city council districts. Would include:

  • $19 million for grind-and-inlay paving projects on collector streets and arterials, transit and freight routes, emergency routes, streets on Portland’s High Crash Network, and along Portland’s low-traffic pedestrian and bike network known as Neighborhood Greenways. This work would be informed by PBOT’s Equity Matrix.
  • $4.5 million for crack seal and slurry seal projects on local streets

Traffic Safety Projects ($23.5 million)

  • Safety on busy streets ($9 million)
  • Safety on neighborhood streets ($6 million)
  • Safe Routes to School ($6 million)
  • Additional safety enhancements ($2.5 million)

Safety on busy streets ($9 million)

What is it? If the measure passes this category would provide small-scale safety upgrades to reduce conflicts, address high-crash locations, and lower speeds on busy streets. It would provide funds for new or upgraded crossings, sidewalks, and lighting along Portland’s busiest streets, especially for projects that can leverage additional outside funding. Consistent with Portland’s Vision Zero strategy, investments will be focused on the High Crash Network. This network represents 8% of Portland streets yet accounts for 62% of traffic deaths.

How would funding be allocated?

  • Approximately $1 million or more would be invested in each of the four new city council districts
  • $5 million would fund street safety projects and would be informed by PBOT’s Equity Matrix, especially projects that leverage additional outside funding

Priority locations: 

  • Would fund street safety projects focused on the High Crash Network or other documented high-crash segments or intersections along busy streets in Portland
  • High priorities in PedPDX: Portland’s Citywide Pedestrian Plan, based on the need for safety, equity, and access to transit and major destinations

Safety on neighborhood streets ($6 million)

What is it? Neighborhood streets are often the main routes for people walking, rolling, and biking to their local schools, parks, and main streets. If the measure passes, this category would fund traffic calming such as speed bumps and diverters, crosswalks, and other projects along Portland’s low-traffic pedestrian and bike network known as Neighborhood Greenways, especially around parks, schools, main streets, and other destinations.

How would funding be allocated? If passed, a total of $6 million would be spent on safety projects like neighborhood greenways, traffic calming such as speed bumps and diverters, and crosswalks on local streets and minor collectors that primarily serve the surrounding neighborhoods, as follows:

  • Approximately $750,000 or more invested in each of the four new council districts
  • $3 million for larger street safety projects with a focus on areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix, especially projects that leverage additional outside funding

Priority locations:

  • Projects in selected neighborhoods such as East Portland, Southwest, North Portland, Lower Southeast, and Cully
  • Neighborhood-level projects that address deficiencies in the pedestrian and bicycle network identified by citywide pedestrian and bicycle plans
  • Small-scale safety projects that respond to issues reported by community members and organizations through Portland’s transportation safety hotline or direct outreach – projects are vetted by engineering staff to confirm level of safety benefit

Safe Routes to School ($6 million) 

What is it? If passed the measure would provide funding for PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program, a partnership between the city, schools, neighborhoods, community organizations, and agencies. Projects would be designed for the safety of students and families walking, biking, and rolling to school.

How would funding be allocated? If the measure passes, a total of $6 million for safety projects like crossings, traffic calming, lighting, and signage along neighborhood greenways directly adjacent to schools and on the main routes regularly used by students and caregivers to get to school, as follows:

  • Approximately $750,000 or more for each of the four new city council districts.
  • $3 million to make larger safety expenditures with a focus on areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix, especially projects that leverage additional outside funding

Priority Locations:

  • Identified projects in the Safe Routes to School plan, developed in 2017 with the first cycle of funding from Fixing Our Streets
  • Other Safe Routes to School projects added since 2017 because of new or emerging issues due to changes in school boundaries or other developments

Additional safety enhancements ($2.5 million) 

What is it? If the measure passes, this program would provide additional safety elements to maintenance projects. This would combine both safety and maintenance work.

How would funding be allocated?

  • $2.5 million citywide to leverage repaving projects, utility projects, and other similar work to add safety features like enhanced crossings and other pedestrian and bikeway projects.

Priority Locations:

  • Projects would be primarily chosen based on leverage opportunity and consistency with existing plans, public input, and cost effectiveness
  • The work would be informed by PBOT’s Equity Matrix.

Community Street Services ($23.5 million)

What is it? If the measure passes these projects would respond to routine maintenance and safety requests. Examples of this work include filling potholes, fixing damaged traffic signals and streetlights, maintaining gravel streets, and calming traffic.

How would funding be allocated?

  • Potholes ($5.5 million) – Would fund a crew to address potholes
  • Gravel Street Service ($4 million) – Would fund a crew focused on PBOT’s Gravel Street Service throughout the city
  • Base repair ($4 million) – Would fund base repair projects
  • Signal and lighting maintenance ($3.5 million) – Would Fund signal and streetlight repair and maintenance
  • Safer intersections ($2 million) – Would Fund safety improvements at intersections with signals. Examples: adding accessible pedestrian push buttons and bicycle detection, changing signals to give people walking and bicycling a head start crossing the street, and adjustments to signal timing.
  • Pedestrian, bicycle, and public space retrofits ($2.5 million) – Would fund permanent upgrades to temporary safety installations. Examples: replacing reflective plastic wands along a bike lane with concrete traffic separators; replacing a painted curb extension with a concrete one; or supplementing planters with concrete islands.
  • Residential street safety and traffic calming ($2 million) – Would provide funding for PBOT’s hotline to respond to safety concerns from the public. This would also fund traffic safety interventions such as speed bumps on residential streets, with such projects prioritized by safety and equity criteria.

This information was reviewed by the Oregon Elections Division for compliance with ORS 260.432.