A GAS TAX TO FIX PORTLAND’S STREETS

Q: Why a gas tax?

A: Repairs and maintenance for our roads and streets have been deferred for 30 years. It becomes more expensive to fix these problems the longer we wait to address them.

Portland’s roads are now in a terrible state of disrepair. A gas tax is the smartest way to fund repairs and improve safety for everyone on Portland’s streets. 

Q: Is the gas tax a good investment?

A: Investment in maintenance on a city street will preserve the quality of the road and help prevent normal wear and tear from destroying our street and rendering it functionally obsolete. Studies show a $200,000 treatment to a deteriorating street now can be enough to prevent taxpayers from footing the bill for a $2 million rebuild in the future. 

Q: Who supports the gas tax? 

A: Fix Our Streets Portland is a broad coalition of parents, business owners, civic leaders, educators, affordable housing advocates, environmentalists, and street safety groups working to pass this temporary ten cent gas tax. Our supporters include the City Club of Portland, Portland Business Alliance, OPAL - Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Walks, and the Portland Association of Teachers. Check out our full list of endorsements.

Q: Who opposes the gas tax? 

A:  Big Oil is trying to squash our local efforts to fix our streets. The Oil Industry is funding a campaign to defeat the gas tax, as they have in other cities.

Q: Who will pay the most?

A: This gasoline tax means that the drivers who use our roads the most will pay the most to fix them. That’s the fairest way to cover the costs of these needed repairs.

Q: Will this tax heavy trucks?

A: Since heavy trucks are buying gas at truck stops, mostly outside the city, instead of neighborhood stations, this measure includes a requirement that the City convene a committee to look at how to get heavy trucks to pay their fair share. The City of Portland is currently studying how best to ensure trucks will pay for their usage of our streets.

Q: Why doesn’t the city use money they already have?

A: The money that the state and federal governments give to the city for streets hasn't kept up with our need. The federal gas tax hasn’t changed since 1993, and Oregon’s gas tax hasn’t changed since 2009. Due to inflation, increased automobile fuel efficiency, and an overall decrease in per-capita driving, revenues for street maintenance in Portland has plummeted, and our roads are starting to show serious signs of wear and tear.

Most of the city’s general fund goes to police, fire, parks and housing. We wouldn't want to slash those services in order to fix our streets. An independent citizen’s group determined the city’s budget does not have enough money for needed street repairs and recommended a local gas tax. 

Q: What will the temporary gas tax fund? 

A: The four-year, ten-cent gas tax will fund 35.8 million of paving and road maintenance projects and $28 million of safety projects such as crosswalks and sidewalks near transit stations, busy streets, elementary and middle schools.  The full project list is available here