Oregon County May Delay Transportation Projects

Aug. 11, 2020

Multnomah County, Oregon, said it would be forced to delay some road maintenance projects in the metro area and implement a hiring freeze because people are driving less during the pandemic. The county also faces a $2 million hit in the next year due to gas and tax revenue declines. The funding decline accounts for roughly 15 percent of the county’s money for maintenance work. The gas tax decline won’t affect large capital projects, like the ongoing effort to replace the Burnside Bridge. 

Other large-scale capital projects on the county’s five other Willamette River bridges would likely not be affected either. Portland and state transportation officials have also talked about declining gas tax revenue and its long-term effects on road maintenance plans. The Oregon Department of Transportation highlighted its long-term structural deficit because of its reliance on the gas tax. State leaders said the highway trust fund would be insolvent by 2024 without political action to ensure revenue can match expenses. 

County officials similarly said the agency faces a built-in budget issue.