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Election 2012: Multiple Oregon ballots cover transportation issues
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

In two weeks, voters in multiple Oregon communities will decide the fate of various transportation funding questions on local ballots.

Ballots in the city of Eugene will include a question about whether to renew a bond-funded street repair program. If approved, the city could issue up to $43 million in bonds. About 93 percent of funds would be used for road maintenance while the rest would go to bicycle and pedestrian projects.

The bonds would be paid during the next five years through property taxes at an estimated rate of 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

In 2008, voters authorized a five-year, $35.9-million bond measure for roads, bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Voters in one Multnomah County/Clackamas County locale can cast votes on road bonds. In Lake Oswego, which is a short drive south from Portland, voters will decide whether to authorize up to $5 million in bonds to help pay for improvements to Boones Ferry Road.

Plans call for widening the road to four lanes, landscaping medians, making turn lane improvements, and adding bike lanes.

The work is estimated to cost $25 million. To pay for the improvements, property taxes would be increased at a rate of 6 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

To the west in Washington County, multiple locales will also decide on transportation measures.

Ballots in Cornelius will include a question about whether to repeal a local fuel tax. Since 2010, the city west of Portland has imposed a 2-cent-per-gallon tax to pay for roads. It has generated about $160,000 since it took effect.

In nearby Tigard, voters will weigh in on light rail. The ballot question will ask voters whether the city should be required to get voter approval before authorizing new or added taxes or fees for light rail construction.

A few minutes southwest along state Route 99W in King City, voters will also choose whether they want the final say on public rail transit. Specifically, voters would need to give permission for any public city resources to be used for light rail.

In neighboring Clackamas County, voters in Government Camp will decide whether to set up a special road district and new tax. The road district would pay for road maintenance, drainage, signage, snow plowing and street lighting.

Property owners in the town along the Mount Hood Highway would be responsible for paying about 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The permanent tax is estimated to raise about $62,000 annually.

A city in Jackson County will also decide on using bonds to pay for street improvements and maintenance. Ballots in the city of Rogue River, located along Interstate 5 northwest of Medford, will ask voters about issuing up to $1.6 million in bonds to pay for road work.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to mailto:state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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