Multnomah County Transportation seeks public input on service priorities, as revenue declines due to COVID-19
Multnomah County’s Transportation Division has launched an online survey to get public input on service priorities as it works to address falling revenues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The short survey is at the Transportation page through August.
The pandemic has led to a big decline in driving. A major funding source for transportation agencies is the gasoline tax. Multnomah County expects its gas tax revenue will decline by $2 million between spring 2020 and June 2021.
Multnomah County maintains roads in unincorporated areas in west and east county, major roads in the cities of Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village, and six Willamette River bridges. The county does not maintain roads in Gresham or Portland.
Even before the pandemic, the Transportation Division’s costs were rising faster than its revenues. This structural deficit is leading to a long-term decline in the County’s transportation infrastructure.
The survey asks what type of County Transportation work is most important to users, what types of projects we should focus on, and what level of road and bridge maintenance is acceptable. It asks the public to identify which principles should guide the County’s budget decisions and whether the County should focus on preserving the existing transportation system or adding to the system.
The Transportation Division has taken steps to respond to the funding decline, including:
- Implementing a hiring freeze
- Evaluating the schedule for capital projects
- Scheduled focus groups with community stakeholders
- Reached out to other transportation agencies about their response to the revenue downturn
- Surveying County Transportation staff on service priorities and guiding principles for addressing funding shortfall
The Transportation Division will use information from the survey and other types of outreach to develop options for funding and service levels that can be implemented in the short term. The Division will also create a long-term plan which can help it balance declining revenues with County and community priorities.
For more information, visit the Transportations page.