May 8, 2014 | Portland Mercury-- In this week's issue, we take a look at the latest proposal for shoring up Portland's transportation finances. For months, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick have been beating the drum for a "street maintenance fee"—a monthly amount households and businesses would pay into a special pot, that would then be used on road maintenance (most of the money) and safety projects (less of the money).
The notion of the street fee has people torn. Even those who really want to see the Portland Bureau of Transportation get more money are sort of disgusted by the fee mechanism. That's because it's regressive, assigning the same charge ($8 or $12) to households regardless of income (though there is a low-income discount). Even Novick says he's holding his nose over the fee idea.
So it's worth asking: Where did the fee idea come from?
The most immediate answer is: People like it best! That's been Novick's argument, and he's got some numbers to back it up. In late March, PBOT paid $28,000 for a poll of 800 Portland voters, gauging how likely they'd be to support a READ FULL ARTICLE