Portland street tax is money well spent
We strongly support the renewal of Portland's gas tax for street repairs.
There are very few upsides to this pandemic and quarantine, but consider this: What better time to pave Portland's old and ill-kept streets? Fewer of us are driving on them now, but that won't be true forever.
The largest thing the city owns is the street system. Much of it is in disrepair because, for decades, city leaders kicked the can down the road — excuse the expression — when it came to street maintenance.
Voters in 2016 OK'd the 10 cent gas tax. Now it's up for renewal in the form of Measure 26-209 and deserves a "yes" vote.
The 2016 gas tax funded full repaving of 40 lane miles (another way to perceive that metric: one lane wide by 40 miles long).The fund helped fix more than 400 sections of failing road, connected many miles of sidewalks, and added another 170 safety improvements citywide.
We know the following to be true from our own homes: It costs pennies to fix a roof or a leaky pipe today, and many more dollars to fix either of them next year or next decade. Quick maintenance is smart money spent well. Deferred maintenance means passing the expense (which will be much higher than it is today) to the next generation.
Let's also consider that paving means hiring people. That would be a lesser concern in another year. In the year of the pandemic, with the economy tanking and unemployment skyrocketing, creating jobs for Oregonians is no small thing.
And remember: This is a renewal, not a new tax added on to what we're already paying at the pump.
Supporters for the measure include AARP Oregon, the Portland Business Alliance, NW Oregon Labor Council (AFL-CIO), East County Rising, Kaiser Permanente and many more.
Plus, the specific project list for Fix Our Streets — the street maintenance to-do list — are projects that Portlanders have identified as their top priorities, including street lighting, pothole repair and safe routes to schools.
Every business owner and every home owner knows this: Take care of what you have. It's almost always cheaper and easier to fix it than to replace it.
Vote "yes" on Measure 26-209.
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