Bend▶️ Why is Bend considering monthly transportation fee after voters passed bond?

▶️ Why is Bend considering monthly transportation fee after voters passed bond?

▶️ Why is Bend considering monthly transportation fee after voters passed bond?

▶️ Why is Bend considering monthly transportation fee after voters passed bond?

The City of Bend says it plans to move forward with a transportation fee. If approved, Bend homeowners may be asked pay $10-$15 per month on their utility bills.

“I don’t really think it’s a good idea. I feel like the city is supposed to be getting money from a lot of different things and they’re not using it correctly,” Bend resident Jack Tate said.

The city says the fee is necessary to improve and maintain the roads and transportation system. 

“We nearly have a billion dollars in need for our transportation system, for various projects and operations in maintenance and operations in maintenance and programs. We have funding for about half of that, but it means we need to identify funding for the other half,” Senior Policy Analyst for the City of Bend Sarah Hutson said. 

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Voters already passed a $190 million transportation bond in 2020. 

The city says the new fee will cover road maintenance operations such as street sweeping and paving, while the bond money is used for larger road construction projects like this summer’s construction on Wilson Avenue.

“We all rely on a well functioning transportation system, from garbage hauling services to getting your mail to grocery deliveries to school bus routes. All of those depend on a well-functioning system,” Hutson said.

Because the fee is not a new tax, it can be approved by Bend City Council. Voters do not get a say.

Bend residents Central Oregon Daily News spoke with don’t seem sold.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think they need to find another way to get the money because I think we already pay enough taxes as it is, and the utility bills keep going up and up and up,” Bend resident Jeannie Warren said.

“I still got potholes and problems on my street. Just seems like the money is going anywhere else but some place we don’t know,” Tate said.

The city will be holding its first roundtable on the fee Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. – noon at the Pilot Butte Fire Station. Because of limited meeting room space, the public is asked to watch the livestream on YouTube. There will be no public comments allowed.

Future roundtables will be held Sept. 13 and possibly Oct. 11.

If approved, the fee will go into effect next summer.
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