Metro — the regional government for the Portland area — released a report Wednesday laying out potential options to help fund its more than $3 billion transportation bond measure slated for the November 2020 ballot.
The agency also plans to leverage $2 billion or more in funding from outside sources, such as the federal government.
Metro hopes to raise $350 to $450 million annually for 20 years with the ballot measure, in order to pay back $3 billion in bonds and to continue to fund various programs.
The regional government, the city of Portland and Portland consulting firm ECONorthwest reviewed 10 tax options for the region including a vehicle registration fee, property tax, payroll tax and general sales tax.
The report looks at various considerations for each kind of tax such as legality, economic impact and questions of equity for low income residents.
Metro also partnered with a pollster, FM3 Research, to weigh residents’ thoughts on the various revenue sources in a survey.
Andy Shaw, government affairs director with Metro, said the transportation measure will go toward voters as one measure on the ballot, but it will most likely include multiple different taxes.
“I presume that we will be looking at a combination of taxes,” Shaw said. “Both just the ability to raise revenues alone probably requires a blend of resources, but also that voters seem to more positively respond to sort of a shared responsibility.”
The idea of a sales tax, property tax and gas tax did not poll well regionally, Shaw said. Other options such as vehicle registration fees, a tax on car dealers’ sales, and a personal income tax on household income over $100,000 fared better.
“Everything is on the table,” Shaw said. “We’re really trying to understand the full suite of options.”
Shaw said Metro hopes to narrow down the revenue sources by the end of January. Metro plans to have a total package together by May or early June to refer it to voters for November.