Portland city leaders keep focus on need for street repair funding

Portland city leaders keep focus on need for street repair funding »Play Video
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales rides a road paving truck Monday, June 30, 2014 to bring attention to his cause of more funding for street repairs.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- City leaders have announced that Portland Bureau of Transportation crews exceeded their goal of maintaining 100 miles of streets during the last year.

They fixed an extra three miles and stayed on budget. That's the good news. But Mayor Charlie Hales said those streets won't be touched again for 50 years because of funding. They should be maintained every 12, he said.

Hales rode a paving truck Monday to bring attention to the cause.

"We promised we'd get back to basics and we have," Hales said. "Thanks to the hard work of our maintenance crews, and using new techniques like fog seal, we have achieved our goal. Portlanders know we need to do more, and when we approve more funding for transportation later this year, we will be able to build on these achievements and get our streets back in the shape that all Portlanders deserve."

KATU asked the mayor -- between the sales tax that he proposed and the controversial street fee -- what will happen if voters just can't come to an agreement on how to get more money?

"Well, that's our job," he said. "Our job is to try to find a way to solve this problem. And we hope that there's a majority of Portlanders that want us to solve the problem -- that seems to be the case, and we hope people will agree that the means that we've chosen ultimately to solve it is an acceptable one," he said.

The mayor is open to other options besides the street fee. A half penny city sales tax is his choice. Commissioners will vote on the chosen proposal in November.