April 18th, 2014 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, Business, Transportation

PBOT Shows Businesses Their Possible Street-Fee Bill

How much would a brewpub pay into the new transportation fee? $604 a month.

dekum good neighborGood Neighbor Pizzeria - IMAGE: vivianjohnson.com

Portland businesses could pay bills ranging from $6 a month to $2,241 a month if the city creates a new "street maintenance fee" to fund the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

City Commissioner Steve Novick and PBOT director Leah Treat debuted the commercial side of the fee plan to a meeting of business owners on Wednesday morning.

The business fees would be matched with an $8-a-month or $12-a-month fee on households. The city could raise as much as $52 million a year by creating the fee.

BikePortland.com first reported today that the city began releasing some examples of the business side of the fee at a transportation town hall last night.

WW has now obtained PBOT's working draft of proposed fees on businesses.

It's a detailed rate schedule that calculates what 39 businesses would pay, based on their square footage and how many times people travel to visit them.

A nursing home would pay up to $77 a month.

A children's day-care center? Up to $194 a month.

A large brewpub? Up to $604 a month.

The highest charge listed is for a "regional attraction," which could pay between $1,445 and $2,241 a month.

Novick's chief of staff Chris Warner confirms PBOT is using this list as a possible model to update the last attempt at a street fee, which failed in 2008.

"This is an attempt to figure out what businesses would pay based on trips generated," Warner says. "The methodology they used takes a look at square footage as well."

(BikePortland editor Jonathan Maus photographed a slide last night showing PBOT would spend the money—scroll down to the fourth photo—on as many as 115 safer intersections and 420 blocks of new sidewalks. The city auditor criticized transportation officials Thursday for not prioritizing spending.)

As previously reported by WW, public support for such a fee is soft but improving.

A phone survey funded by PBOT this month found only 44 percent of voters supported a street fee of $12 a month per Portland household. But that number rose to 51 percent once pollsters explained what the fee would fund: road maintenance and pedestrian safety construction projects.

Business support is also uncertain. Novick showed business owners the rate schedule Wednesday at a meeting organized by Venture Portland, a city-funded guild of neighborhood business districts.

Venture Portland executive director Heather A. Hoell sent out an email Tuesday asking members of the Portland Business Alliance to attend.

"PBOT is hosting a business-specific meeting this Wednesday," she wrote, "and, although I’m hearing a lot of frustration from neighborhood businesses I’m low on RSVPs."

Here is the full rate schedule PBOT has drafted.

 

 
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