10-cent gas tax headed to Portland voters on May ballot

Steve Novick pushes for new revenue source to help ailing infrastructure.

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Steve Novick has proposed sending a 10-cent gas tax to voters on the May 2016 ballot as a part of a push for revenue to help Portland’s ailing infrastructure.

He made the call for the four-year plan Monday.

“I think the voters recognize the time to act is now,” Novick told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

If approved by voters, the local gas tax would be the highest in Oregon. Sixteen cities or counties have gas taxes ranging from a penny to a nickel per gallon, and the fuel industry is expected to strongly oppose Portland’s proposal.

The tax would raise far less money than a controversial street-fee proposal initially pushed by Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales in May 2014. And as envisioned, Portland’s gas tax would not apply to any diesel vehicles, leaving millions of dollars on the table annually.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

Some business owners backed the plan.

“In my opinion, the user-based gas tax is an appropriate way to raise revenue and encourages people to use mass transit and alternative means of transportation, which in turn support our land use planning efforts,” downtown property owner Greg Goodman said in a news release.

Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, joined supporters of the measure.

(SOURCE: Portland Business Journal)

The proposal also drew support from Novick’s fellow commissioners.

“I applaud Commissioner Novick for working with the community to identify new revenues for our streets,” Nick Fish said in a news release. “While the details are still being worked out, I would support an increase in the gas tax for street repair and traffic safety, provided the issue is referred to the voters.”

An email from Hales’ spokesperson Sara Hottman strikes a supportive tone, saying “since the City Club report recommended a local gas tax, Mayor Hales has said, ‘great — put it on the ballot.’”

But Hottman points out that the revenue projections appear to fall short of what’s needed to eliminate the road maintenance backlog.


RELATED NEWS: Portland mayor backs 10-cent gas taxCity Club pushes for Portland streets fundsReader Input: Road Work


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