Since early last year, regional governmental body Metro has been planning to place a multi-billion-dollar transportation funding package on November’s ballot, similar to the affordable housing bond passed by Metro area voters in 2018. Tonight, the Metro Council will hold a marathon three-and-a-half-hour meeting, dedicated entirely to public comment on the proposed projects that measure will likely fund.
A transportation funding task force comprised of Metro area mayors, councilmembers, transportation industry representatives and other relevant participants has been working on proposed projects for the last year. The task force released a list of focus areas earlier this month, built around a “corridor” framework.
Corridors are roads that aren’t interstate freeways, but are major thoroughfares that connect people to different parts of the area—think Burnside, McLoughlin, 82nd, and Tualatin Valley Highway. The task force picked projects for corridors in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties based on three main criteria: safety, public transit, and curbing climate change.
Here are all the corridors the task force wants Metro voters to invest in, and how much money they estimate projects there will need:
(The Southwest Corridor is by far the largest investment, because TriMet is planning a new MAX line that will connect SW Barbur with the Tigard area).
You can find out more about individual projects suggested for those corridors here. The projects range from simple safety improvements like putting lights at crosswalks, to game-changing transit enhancements like adding bus priority lanes, to freeway-friendly gambits like adding turn lanes near on-ramps in an attempt to ease congestion. The projects chosen will need to balance a diverse set of concerns to get on the ballot: A voter who lives in close-in Southeast Portland and takes the bus to work downtown, for example, will likely have different priorities than someone who lives in Oregon City and drives to Beaverton for work.
Metro hasn’t identified a funding mechanism for the project yet, though it is considering a payroll tax, as reported by Willamette Week.
Monday’s meeting will be held from 5:30 to 9 pm at the Metro Regional Center, located at 600 NE Grand. If you can’t attend the meeting in person, you can also submit written testimony by emailing email@example.com.