Why Local Governments are Likely to Get Onboard the Sprawl-Inducing Transportation Bill

In a word – Maintenance. The City of Portland, as one example, would see about a 40% increase in gas tax revenue available to fix potholes and rebuild streets that are too far gone for routine maintenance.

As one transportation official told me, this would “stop the bleeding”. The bleeding in this case being the $9-10M by which Portland’s road maintenance backlog grows each year. It would probably NOT be enough however to make significant progress in reducing the backlog.

At the County level, the bill would provide mechanisms (registration fee increases) that, coupled with the increased gas tax revenue, would let Multnomah and Clackamas Counties assemble funding for the Sellwood Bridge replacement (with Portland’s help).

So the local folks who understand the very negative greenhouse gas impacts of the bill are likely to do little more than mutter under their breath.

At the same time Democratic House leadership is strong-arming pro-environment Portland-area legislators over this bill. Freshman legislator Jules Kopel Baily, who ran on a strong environment platform, voted for the bill in committee. And he is not the only pro-environment legislator who has indicated probable support for the bill.

On the side of the good guys, Onward Oregon has joined the list of organizations calling for restoration of modal balance to the bill.

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