Maintaining Portland’s Streets: Myth Busting

This is the second in our series on Commissioner Adams’ efforts to develop a sustainable funding stream for maintaining Portland’s streets. Today we look at dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions about local transportation funding. Sam gets these questions so often that he built an FAQ section into his presentation.


Got that? Love or hate the Tram, it didn’t divert any money from maintaining streets.

More after the break.


Ditto for Streetcar. Even the money for operations doesn’t really detract from street maintenance. The operating funds come from increased parking fees (meters and City-owned parking structures) downtown. The downtown business community supported these increases to fund Streetcar. They would not have supported them to fund maintenance outside downtown.


Fundamentally, General Fund dollars don’t get spent on transportation. Police, fire and parks simply have too strong a prior claim on these funds, and these bureaus are not exactly rolling in excess dollars.


Having served on PDOT’s budget advisory committee, I’ll vouch for this one.


Spending general fund dollars on transportation is rare. And this year even when we did so, the focus was mostly on safety.

No question that maintenance isn’t sexy, but it’s important. In the next post in the series, we’ll look at ways we might fund it.

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