BEND, OR -- The Bend Streets Maintenance Funding Committee managed to reach some consensus, despite differing opinions. The group of more than a dozen members was split among those who support a local gas tax to fund needed road repairs and those who don't. Engineer Scott Beaird is on the committee. He tells KBND, "I feel like we came to a good middle ground on to what level we want to maintain the roads; I think we came to a pretty good agreement on that. That's a really important piece because that obviously flows down to how much funding is needed. I think as a group, we came to an agreement on the viable sources. There are obviously different opinions on which of those are palatable to voters and citizens." Currently, the city's Pavement Condition Index (PCI) is in the high 60s, and the committee wants it to increase to 72-73 so the city can focus on maintenance, which is cheaper than rebuilding them.
The group is expected to present two options to City Councilors next week: a local gas tax and a transportation utility fee, which would appear on utility bills. "There's been a lot of information presented, a lot kind of back and forth, ups and downs. And, I think given the various viewpoints we have, we came up with a good range of options to present to Council. Ultimately, it's their decision to make," says Beaird.
About 40% of the committee supports a local gas tax, while 20% supports a transportation utility fee. About a third said they would support either. The group meets with City Councilors Monday, November second at 5 p.m. to go over the committee's conclusions.