Portland, Ore., area voters to decide on $5 billion transportation plan

July 30, 2020

Keith Goble


Voters in the Portland, Ore., area will decide this fall whether to approve a $5 billion plan to invest in regional transportation infrastructure and programs.

The Get Moving 2020 plan includes funding to repair and replace bridges, public transportation expansion, and upgrade traffic signals and streetlights in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

The revenue to cover costs of the program would come via a maximum 0.75% business payroll tax. The tax would be collected from area business with more than 25 employees. State and local governments would be exempted from paying the tax.

In addition to the $5 billion from tax revenue, the Oregon Metro Council is expected to tie $2.8 billion in federal, state and local funds. The additional funding would make the transportation plan worth $7.8 billion.

The Oregon Metro Council is a regional government serving the Portland area.

Second tax increase for the year for Portland residents?

In May, voters in the city of Portland overwhelmingly approved the extension of a 10-cent per gallon tax on local gasoline sales.

Originally approved in May 2016, more than three-quarters of voters this spring approved passage of Measure 26-209. The measure’s passage authorizes the city to continue the collection of the gas tax for another four years.

The dime rate now collected was set to expire at the end of this year. At that time, the tax is estimated to have raised $77 million over four years.

Renewal of the tax is estimated to raise another $74.5 million through 2024.

The May vote follows a city council decision early this year to renew a four-year-old tax on trucks. The 3% local heavy-vehicle use tax is a companion to the local gas tax.

Fuel tax use

The fuel taxes collected on cars and trucks are billed as helping the city of Portland address a road repair backlog.

The revenue from the city-level tax, however, is not applied solely for road projects. The same rule applies to the extension.

A little over half of the revenue will be allotted for road paving and pothole repair. The rest will be used for other safety improvements that include traffic signals, crossings and sidewalks.

More Land Line coverage of news from Oregon is available.