A TUF may not be enough. The Bend City Council also wants residents to think about other tax options and how they should mix and mingle.
A transportation utility fee, a seasonal fuel tax and/or a targeted sales tax on food and beverage sales?
The city is looking for the right commingling of taxes to help pay for Bend’s ongoing transportation needs and wants. And for that matter, the right mix of needs and wants.
Bend City Councilors gave every indication at Wednesday’s council meeting that a TUF, a transportation utility fee, is coming. It would likely show up on utility bills. We don’t know what the charge would be. Many cities charge residences and businesses a monthly transportation fee. It could conceivably be set up to give a discount to low-income residents. Councilors can implement a TUF without a public vote.
Before the councilors do anything, they want to hear from the public.
The city has talked about using the money to cover costs of the expected gap in ongoing transportation maintenance — the potholes and routine resurfacing — and to do other things, such as improve safety on routes for drivers, bikers and walkers.
A TUF would not capture revenue from tourists and some councilors mentioned tourists paying a share.
A seasonal gas tax has the plus of catching tourists at the pump. It might encourage people to drive less. But kicking off a local gas tax would be starting up a tax you know is in decline. How much sense does that make? The people who would be paying most of the gas tax would be the people who live here, not tourists. The worst may be that a gas tax would likely be a regressive tax, having more of an impact on the poor.
A local gas tax requires a public vote. Maybe voters in Bend would be more supportive of a gas tax than they have in the past. Who knows?
A sales tax targeted on food and beverage sales would be a narrow tax targeting one segment of the city’s economy. Is that fair? It would capture tourist revenue. Most of the people paying would again be residents. It sure has the potential to be regressive. A sales tax is another that requires a public vote.
We don’t believe it is a matter of dispute that the city has more expected operating costs for transportation than anticipated revenue. As much as we don’t want to pay more, we don’t want to be dodging potholes. We also appreciate bikers and walkers having safe routes alongside roads. Of the three, we think a TUF strikes the best balance. Tell councilors what you think about these tax options. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I didn't see how much money the city is short by, so to ask which way to collect is irrelevant. If you put it on fuel, all the ev's don't contribute. Please do not put it on food, as it would hurt the less fortunate. What about just adding to property taxes? Every business, homeowner, short term rental would pay in to keep our city roads up.
“A TUF would not capture revenue from tourists.” Then go back to the drawing board and figure out what would capture tourists’ share of wear and tear to our City streets. It’s not a minimal amount.
county wide (not country)
If the County Commissioners don't participate in a country wide transportation district, once again urbanites will be subsidizing rural county residents every time they drive to Bend for groceries, jobs, school or entertainment.
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