PBOT News Release: Community, labor advocates call for City Council to refer Fixing Our Streets renewal to the May ballot, for transportation safety and maintenance

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Portland Bureau of Transportation

News media contact:
Dylan Rivera

PBOT News Release:
Community, labor advocates call for City Council to refer Fixing Our Streets renewal to the May ballot, for transportation safety and maintenance

Commissioner Mapps takes proposal to City Council on Wednesday, recommending referral to May ballot

Voters approved a second phase of the popular transportation program and 10-cent gas tax by 77% in 2020

NE 162nd Avenue paving project funded by Fixing Our Streets and built in 2022 and 2023

The NE 162nd Avenue paving project was funded by Fixing Our Streets and built in 2022 and 2023. Photo by Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).

(Jan. 23, 2024) Community and labor organizations are urging the Portland City Council to approve a third round of the Fixing Our Streets program, the popular 10 cent gas tax that provides funding for maintenance and safety across the city.

Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps will bring the proposal to the CIty Council on Wednesday, recommending referral to voters on the May 21 ballot.

If voters renew Fixing Our Streets in 2024, the 10-cent gas tax would generate an estimated $70.5 million over four years.  

"In the face of Portland's worst traffic fatality numbers in four decades, and given the disproportionate risks to pedestrians and the unhoused, especially in East Portland, the city's shortfall in transportation funding isn't just a budget issue—it's an urgent public safety emergency calling for immediate action," said Sarah Iannarone, Executive Director of The Street Trust. "It's important that voters support this stopgap effort even as we all work to find more sustainable long-term solutions for funding safe streets in our city."

"The past week has been a test of our transportation infrastructure and the staff that maintain safe conditions on our streets," said Paul Cone, President, PROTEC17 Portland Chapter. "Our frontline and professional staff, many of whom have been working 12-hour shifts, are under threat of budget cuts and layoffs. While not all problems can be solved with money, layoffs and staff cuts would set PBOT back immensely as we all try to make our streets a safer place. We hope to see Fixing Our Streets renewed so that we can continue to proudly deliver for the people of Portland."

Fixing Our Streets has a history of strong support from Portland voters. In 2016, voters created the program, with 53% voting in support. In 2020, voters approved Fixing Our Streets with 77% approval.  

PBOT's proposal allocates these funds in three areas:  

  • Smoother Streets Projects, $23.5 million: paving busy streets with a focus on the high crash network and streets that carry public transit and freight, paving neighborhood greenways and residential streets.  
  • Safer Streets Projects, $23.5 million: building safety improvements on high crash corridors and intersections, residential streets, as well as Safe Routes to School.  
  • Community Street Services, $23.5 million: filling potholes, maintenance for traffic signals and street lighting; funding for Portland Gravel Street Service, base repairs, upgrading bike lanes by replacing temporary infrastructure with harder, more permanent materials; making intersections safer for pedestrians and more accessible for people with disabilities; funding to continue PBOT's hotline for responding to traffic safety concerns for the public and funding for speed bumps on residential streets. 

For full details, see the Fixing Our Streets DRAFT Proposal (2024-2028) that was posted on the PBOT website last month.  

Yates talks with Mapps and Williams about gravel streets viewing a grader in SW Portland

PBOT Maintenance Operations Group Director Jody Yates shows how crews use a road grader for the Portland Gravel Streets Service, funded by Fixing Our Streets, as Transportation Commissioner Mapps and PBOT Director Williams tour a job site. Photo by Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).

The Fixing Our Streets program was created in 2016, when 53% of Portland voters approved a 10-cent gas tax for four years, establishing the city's first local source of funding for critical transportation needs like Safe Routes to School, maintenance of gravel streets and paving and safety improvements on streets across Portland. 

To make sure heavy vehicles pay their fair share, the City Council is also considering an extension of the heavy vehicle use tax, which would generate another $10.5 million over four years. 

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the city’s transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at portland.gov/transportation