Metro sets public hearing on regional transportation funding measure
Metro wants to hear public comment on its planning regional transportation funding measure at a special hearing on the evening of Monday, Jan. 13.
The hearing will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Metro Regional Center at 600 N.E. Grand Ave. in Portland. Staff from the elected regional government will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m. to answer questions about the measure being planned for the November 2020 general election ballot.
Metro staff originally proposed a measure to raise $3.1 billion from transportation and transit projects in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas county. An additional $1 billion would fund related programs in all three counties.
A 35-member citizen task force advising Metro recently recommended the project portion be increased to $3.81 billion.
Metro staff has recommended a combination of taxes and fees to fund the measure. Options include personal and business income taxes, a business payroll tax, a gas tax, a motor vehicle registration fee, and and a targeted sales tax on prepared food and beverages. A property tax is also possible, but Metro President Lynn Peterson is against it. A sales tax has been all but ruled out.
The measure is considered necessary to help fund the region's share of the MAX line proposed for the Southwest Corridor between Portland, Tigard and Tualatin. Both the staff and task force recommendations include $975 million for the light rail project. It is estimated to cost more than $2.5 billion.
The rest of the project money would be spent in 12 transportation and transit corridors in the region. The staff and task force recommendations both identify specific projects within the corridors intended to to reduce congestion, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and increase safety. Only a few relatively small road capacity expansion projects are proposed. None are on regional freeways.
The Metro Council must finalize the funding sources and project list by spring to qualify the measure for the fall ballot.
Major recommended Southwest Corridor light rail-related projects include a Marquam Hill Connector: a proposed connection from a MAX Station on Barbur Boulevard to Marquam Hill, including Oregon Health & Science University.
Other projects recommended for funding include replacements bridges for the Newbury and Vermont viaducts on Barbur Boulevard; Tigard Triangle street improvements; and the parking garage in Bridgeport Village at the southern end of the new MAX line.
Other major recommended projects in Portland include seismic upgrades to the Burnside Bridge; rerouting the ramps at the Ross Island Bridgehead; Albina Vision-related street improvements in the Rose Quarter; and improvements to the intersection at Northeast 82nd Avenue and Airport Way. Money also is recommended for planning a MAX tunnel under downtown Portland.
Major increases recommended by the task force include work on to complete street and right-of-way improvements in Highway 212, safety and transit improvements along Powell Boulevard, and safety and multi-modal improvements on TV Highway.
You can find the recent task force recommendations here.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the measure here.
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