How much money will the 10-cent gas tax and the heavy vehicle use tax raise?
Since collection began January 2017, the four-year gas tax has generated over $43 million for Fixing Our Streets. City analysts project PBOT will collect at least $30 million more before the gas tax either expires or is renewed by Portland voters in 2020. Although this revenue has been coming in higher than the city initially predicted, the cost of construction has also risen. Given these facts, and demonstrating a level of caution, the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee has already directed PBOT to make sure the current project list is built first before adding anything new.
The four-year heavy vehicle use tax generated $1.8 million for the 2016 tax year, the first year of collection. PBOT is projected to collect another $5.4 million before the heavy-vehicle use tax expires or is reauthorized by City Council in 2020. This revenue is below what the city initially projected.
Who collects the gas tax?
As passed by voters in 2016, Measure 26-173 authorized the City of Portland to collect a 10-cent motor fuels tax. It is collected from fuel dealers based on their sales to gas stations in the city limits. This also includes diesel sold to light vehicles such as sedans or small trucks.
Do large trucks that carry freight have to pay?
In Oregon, heavy trucks don’t pay gas taxes, they pay a weight-mile tax that is based on their mileage in the state. To make sure that local transportation funding is collected in a way that accounts for freight as well as residential use of the transportation system, the City Council passed a heavy vehicle use tax in May 2016, after voters approved the 10-cent gas tax. The heavy vehicle use tax charges companies based on a percentage of the state weight-mile tax they pay. It is only charged to companies who pay the state weight-mile tax and also have a license to do business in Portland.
How will the money be spent?
Fixing Our Streets Program funds can only be used to pay for basic transportation safety and maintenance needs. The ordinance that placed the measure before the voters includes language requiring 56% of the funds to be invested in street maintenance and 44% on safety improvements. The City Council ordinance included a project list that shows specific projects that are intended to be funded. The list of projects can be found here.
I know a street that has a lot of potholes. Can you go fix that street with this money? I know a street that has a lot of unsafe crossings and lacks sidewalks. Can you go fix that street with this money?
Fixing Our Streets funds are only a down payment on the future of our transportation system. These funds are not enough to address all the city's maintenance and safety needs. According to the ordinance that put Measure 26-173 on the ballot, those projects listed in the ordinance must be given priority.
How can we be sure this will be spent as you told the voters you would spend it?
The ordinance established a 16-member oversight body, the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee, that monitors the program and ensures the funds are being used as the voters intended. As an additional level of oversight, all the projects will be included in the regular city budget process.
Questions or comments about Fixing Our Streets may be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org.