Portland,Ore.-area voters won't see a transit and road bond measure on their ballots in 2018.
TriMet had hoped the bond measure would help fund its Southwest Corridor light-rail project. But there was little agreement among regional mayors and commissioners about what other transportation projects would be included in the measure — and what voters might approve. The 2018 target left little time to reach a consensus.
The transit agency said it would hand off the effort to Metro, the regional government, in part so the measure could include funding for affordable housing efforts, and the agencies are now looking to a possible vote in 2020.
"We were trying to break the speed of light and don't quite have the technology to get to 2018," said Andy Shaw, Metro's government affairs director. "To get to 2020, we still need to break the sound barrier."
The Southwest Corridor project is expected to remain the centerpiece of the bond measure.
TriMet had imagined a $1.7 billion measure that would impose a $13 vehicle registration fee and a new property tax assessment within the transit agency's service area. The tax assessment would cost the average homeowner an additional $150 a year.
The biggest single chunk of the money raised — $740 million — would provide part of the funding for the Southwest Corridor light-rail project, which would connect downtown Portland with Tigard and Bridgeport Village in Tualatin.
The remaining $950 million would be distributed to Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties, as well as the city of Portland, for congestion-relief and safety projects identified by those jurisdictions.
TriMet had previously contemplated a measure that would pair transit projects with freeway expansions in all three Portland-area counties: Interstate 5 in Portland's Rose Quarter; Oregon 217 in Washington County; and Interstate 205 in Clackamas County.
But the Oregon Legislature undercut that possibility with its own transportation package, which partially funds each of those three projects. They might still need additional funding to complete and could end up in the 2020 measure.
Lawmakers declined to fund the Southwest Corridor project.
Postponing a regional funding vote will likely delay the new light-rail line, for which construction was previously expected to begin in 2021.