The Bend City Council will hold a roundtable on the topic of a transportation fee from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, August 9 at the Pilot Butte Fire Station on 15th Street. Meeting room space is very limited so interested community members are encouraged to livestream the Transportation Fee Roundtable on YouTube.
Roundtables are a new engagement opportunity the City Council has created to discuss matters of community interest.
Transportation fees are a common funding tool in Oregon. In the past, the City has relied on revenues from the State gas tax and a portion of property taxes to maintain the City’s transportation system, but these funding sources are limited and declining. The City of Bend’s transportation network is growing, and costs are increasing. New funding sources are needed to maintain the levels of service that the community expects.
A transportation fee is a recurring fee on utility bills because everyone relies on the transportation system (mail delivery, garbage hauling services, food delivery, bus routes, etc.). A well-maintained transportation system allows people and goods and services to move safely and efficiently.
Upcoming roundtable discussions will cover program recommendations from the Transportation System Plan, community priorities, rate tolerance and uses of revenues.
Roundtable participation is by invitation and the meeting does not include public comment. Representatives from the following groups have been invited to the upcoming roundtable: Bend Bikes, Bend Chamber, Bend Economic Development Advisory Board, Bend La Pine Schools, Bend Park & Recreation District, Cascade East Transit, Central Oregon Coalition for Access, City of Bend Accessibility Advisory Committee, Commute Options, Council on Aging, Environment and Climate Committee, Former City Transportation Advisory Committee, Human Rights and Equity Commission, Latino Community Association, Neighborhood Associations, NeighborImpact, Transportation Bond Oversight Committee.
At the August 2 City Council meeting work session, Councilors discussed initial proposed potential rate estimates. Recorded video of the work session can be viewed at www.bendoregon.gov/
“I look forward to working with the community to determine how we can use this fee to maintain and enhance the quality of our streets as well as fund important transportation programs identified in our Transportation System Plan,” said Mayor Melanie Kebler. “Everyone in Bend understands the importance of a well-maintained, well-planned, and safe transportation system. We want to ensure we are equitably implementing a Transportation Utility Fee so we have the funds needed to meet community expectations.”
The public engagement process will help City staff and Council determine uses of revenue, ways to lessen the impact of this new fee on customers facing financial hardship, and how to balance the use of other funding tools for future transportation system needs. A transportation fee could start appearing on utility bills sometime in 2024.
For information: bendoregon.gov/transportation-