BEND, OR -- Bend 2030 is wading into the local gas tax debate. City Councilors are considering putting the issue to voters in November, but a recent survey by Bend 2030 found that many think there could be a better way to pay for much-needed road maintenance.
Erin Foote Marlow, Executive Director of Bend 2030, tells KBND the city should not move too quickly like she feels they did with water system changes, instead following the pattern set by sewer system improvements. "Let's try for that same outcome. Let's not slap dash something on the ballot. Let's actually reach out to stake holders in the community and see if we can together a package of funding options that feels more equitable and comprehensive in the community, where people really have a say. We'll get a better outcome and one which is much more supported."
The group presented the findings of the survey at Wednesday night's City Council meeting. "The big take-aways are that people have an expectation there will be more funding for street maintenance and repair and also more funding for safety projects like pedestrian crossings, sidewalks and safer, better bike lanes around Bend."
The survey of 1600 respondents found a majority favored a studded tire fee to fund street improvements, followed by a gas tax or a tourism tax on food and beverage purchases. City Manager Eric King tells KBND Councilors will make a final decision within three weeks on whether to put a gas tax before voters in November.