Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bend 2030 and COBA ask City Council to broaden gas tax discussion

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 1:55 PM


In a joint letter sent to Bend City Council earlier today, community visioning group Bend 2030 and the Central Oregon Builders' Association ask Council to consider street funding options beyond a gas tax.

At the August 5 Council meeting, four City Councilors voted in support of putting a gas tax on the March ballot and took the statement a step further by removing the requirement for the funding committee to consider a tax-free funding package.

Following those actions, which were decried by the three dissenting councilors (Doug Knight, Casey Roats, and Victor Chudowsky), some groups that had been slated to participate in the process either pulled out or are re-evaluating their participation.

Below is the letter in full. Bend 2030 Executive Director Erin Foote-Marlowe says the letter is not an ultimatum, and that the organization plans to participate whether or not Council honors the request.

Dear Mayor Jim Clinton and the Bend City Council,

Thank you so much for your generous invitation to our organizations to participate in the City of Bend’s Street Funding Committee. We value the opportunity to provide community feedback on the options available to us for dealing with this critical infrastructure issue.

On behalf of the boards of directors of Bend 2030 and Central Oregon Builders Association we would like to express our strong interest in offering a representative to participate in this committee. Together with other community organizations we believe we can assist the City in finding the best solutions to our transportation funding issues.

To that end, we would like to request that the Council encourage the Streets Funding Committee to evaluate all options available to our community. Our organizations wish to show the community the full range of solutions we may consider for addressing transportation needs, which could include no new road funding, budget re-appropriation for street preservation, or generating new revenue streams through a transportation utility fee or a fuel tax.

We believe it is imperative that the council task the committee with evaluating this full slate of options. Would the council please amend Resolution No. 3001 and require the committee to provide a minimum of two recommendations for addressing street funding: one package that includes a fuel tax and one that does not.

Thank you so much for your consideration and we look forward to participating in the committee’s work. 
Council meets next tomorrow night. There is not currently any discussion on street funding on the agenda. Edit: According to a revised agenda sent out on Wednesday morning, Council will discuss the street funding committee at tonight's meeting.
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