Metro Council’s $3.11 Billion Plan to Address Transportation Safety

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Oct 31, 2019 in Auto Accident

shot of highway in downtown portlandOregon’s Metro Council made a preliminary recommendation of $3.11 billion in funding for regional transportation projects in 13 transportation corridors in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

The council has several goals for these projects, including improving safety on roads, prioritizing investment to support communities of color, making it easier to commute and promoting economic growth.

The money would be split up among many projects, but the largest amount of money, $975 million, would be dedicated to the Southwest Corridor between Portland and Tualatin through Tigard. This is where the next light rail line is supposed to go.

The council’s final recommendations will be voted on in the November 2020 ballot – final recommendations must be completed by the spring of 2020.

The 35-member council has been working on these recommendations since forming in February 2019. They have been working to determine the areas most in need of upgrades to improve transportation.

While $3.11 billion is a lot of money, it is much less than the $20 million Metro President Lynn Peterson has said would be necessary to deal with growing congestion in the region.

How Would the Money be Spent?

The Metro Council allocated funds to 13 different corridors, including:

  • $350 million for Tualatin Valley Highway
  • $55 million for Rose Quarter, Portland
  • $30 million for downtown Portland to Northeast Hogan Road
  • $220 million for Central City
  • $240 million for Burnside Street (Sunset Transit Center to Northeast Kane Drive)

The council proposed only one new road connecting 172nd and 181st Avenues in Clackamas County. The council also proposed various bike and pedestrian safety and access upgrades to the corridors, along with bridge replacements on Barbur Boulevard, Tigard Triangle street improvements and construction of a parking garage in Bridgeport Village for the new MAX line.

In addition to these and other proposed projects, the task force recommends that two percent of the funding gets allocated for each corridor for further community building.

Where is the Money Coming From?

There are still a lot of decisions that need to be made, such as determining the funding sources for all of the recommended projects. Peterson is opposed to utilizing property taxes for this purpose, but other options being discussed include adding/increasing regional:

  • Payroll taxes
  • Motor vehicle fees
  • Income taxes
  • Sales taxes

As these plans move forward, we want to help keep you informed, while we at Rizk Law also hope to see an improvement in our region’s traffic issues, including accidents, injuries and deaths.