April 4, 2014 | Oregonlive.com-- Commissioner Steve Novick said the city must take the necessary steps to make Barbur Boulevard in Southwest Portland "a better place."
One of those steps, a $650,000 budget request to further study light rail and other high capacity transit options in car-clogged Southwest Portland. In a departure from other studies looking at potential light rail projects, Novick wants to tap Portland's general fund, the city's discretionary money pool, to pay for the study.
Novick and Portland Bureau of Transportation leaders talked about the budget request Thursday afternoon, toward the end of a week of marathon work sessions for the City Council.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz responded to Novick's request by pointing out the general fund is already facing few resources and many requests. She said that previous light rail projects and studies were funded by urban renewal dollars.
Novick is asking to use $650,000 from the city's discretionary general fund as part of a matching contribution to a draft environmental impact statement. He said Portland's share of the overall cost is "just a modest fraction." If approved, Portland would be expected to contribute a total of $1.05 million for the two-year study.
In contrast to other light rail projects, PBOT officials pointed out the Southwest Corridor doesn't run through urban renewal areas and can't rely on those funds. Fritz asked why the request didn't go through PBOT's revenue stream.
"This is about the future of the city as a whole," Novick said. "It's not just READ FULL ARTICLE