Coronavirus may infect November ballot for Oregon Metro’s huge transportation plan

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
short line railroad
Eleven Hopedale residents have managed to put a land agreement with a short line railroader on pause.

Oregon Metro’s giant $7 billion transportation plan might be put on hold due to the most famous virus in world history.

With the coronavirus reeking havoc around the world, and particularly on the West Coast, Metro is not sure it will go to the November ballot asking for fee increases to help pay for the transportation plan, which includes a light rail extension to Bridgeport Village.

Metro still needs to finalize a project list and determine exactly how to pay for the plan, but everything has been put on hold because Metro officials are not sure how the voters will be feeling come November, both mentally as well as physically. A combination of vehicle registration fee increases, a payroll tax and a tax on high earners are being considered as a funding mechanism. The 30-member task force responsible for framing the transportation package met online on March 18.

Metro has until Aug. 15 if it wants to have a funding option included on the November ballot. If the U.S. economy is struggling later in the year, officials are concerned voters will not buy into any kind of fee or tax increase.

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