Transporation Utility Fee

Oregon City's Pavement Maintenance Utility Fee was adopted on May 21, 2008. Accordance with Ordinance 08-1007 that established the fee, the City must publish an annual report. You can find the 2008 Annual Repot in the link below.


Question 1:
What is a Transportation Utility Fee?

     A Transportation Utility Fee (sometimes known as a Street Maintenance Fee, Road User Fee, or Street Utility Fee) is a monthly fee based on use of the transportation system that is collected from residences and businesses within the city limits of Oregon City. The fee is based on the number of trips a particular land use generates and is collected through the City's regular utility bill. It is designated for use in the maintenance and repair of the City's transportation system. Users of the road system share the costs of the corrective and preventive maintenance needed to keep the street system operating at an adequate level.

Question 2:
How does the transportation utility fee work?

     The fee is a charge for usage, like your monthly sewer charge. It provides a stable source of revenue to pay for street maintenance allowing for safe and efficient movement of people, goods, and services. The street system is a public investment that deserves protection and cost-effective regular maintenance.

Question 3:
Why a Transportation Utility Fee in Oregon City?

     In the past, the primary funding source for maintaining the City's street system was the State Gas Tax. The shared revenues received from the State Highway Fund are budgeted by the City through the Street Fund. The Street Fund is used for operations and maintenance within the public right-of-way, including pavement maintenance; traffic signal operations and maintenance; traffic control for special events and emergency response; street signage; striping; non-PGE street light maintenance; roadside guardrail and vegetation; emergency weather response; municipal elevator maintenance and 1/3 operations contract; arterial amenities, such as hanging banners, benches, etc.; holiday displays; and administration.
     The gas tax per gallon has not been increased since 1993 and an increase does not appear likely in the foreseeable future. Fuel efficiency in motor vehicles has led to less fuel consumption for the same miles driven (which is a good thing). Even though fuel costs have increased, gas tax receipts have not because we are taxed per gallon of gas (not per dollar). The amount available from gas tax revenues for pavement overlay and reconstruction continues to decrease while the wear and tear on our roads does not. It is important to note that over the last nine years, since 1999, our road miles have increased about from 99 miles to 125 miles (about 26%), and our population has increased from 23,415 to 30,060 (about 28%). The shrinking dollars and a larger city have resulted in a growing backlog of paving needs.
     The City can no longer rely solely on the State Highway Fund for enough funding to maintain city streets. The City must come up with its own revenue source to meet our local needs. The gas tax must be supplemented to complete pavement overlays, pavement treatments, and reconstruction work that are necessary to keep our street system functioning satisfactorily.
     In 2007, the Transportation Funding Study Citizens Committee recommended the implementation of a Transportation Utility Fee as the preferred alternative for a supplemental funding source to help manage the City's street infrastructure investment.

Question 4:
What kind of street system do we have?

     Of Oregon City's 125 miles of streets, 12% are arterials (such as South End Road or Molalla Avenue); about 13% are collector streets (such as Clairmont Road or Glen Oak Road); and 75% are local or neighborhood streets. The reconstruction value is currently valued at $115 million.

Question 5:
Why is there a need for timely maintenance of Oregon City's streets?

     Through timely maintenance of streets, cities are better able to provide safe roads on which people may travel. Studies have shown that pavement condition worsens at an increasing rate as the pavement gets older. Restoration of pavement near the end of its service life will typically cost 4 to 5 times more than preventive maintenance performed in a timely manner.

Question 6:
Where and how will our Transportation Utility Fee dollars be spent?

     Because City residents and business owners will be paying the fee, revenue will only be invested in streets under the City’s jurisdiction. The dollars will be used for rehabilitation and maintenance of City streets. This includes slurry seals, pavement overlays, reconstruction, and roadside work (rockfall protection, guardrail, etc.).
     Revenues will not be used to construct new infrastructure to expand the transportation system or enhancements not directly related to improving or maintaining the condition of existing City streets.

Question 7:
What kind of street treatments are available?

  • Crack sealing - Injection of hot tar or asphalt into cracks and paving seams.
  • Slurry Seal - Very thin layer of liquid asphalt and sand used to seal street surfaces. (Cost is typically less than $2 per square yard).
  • Micro Chip Seal - A thin layer of hot asphalt is applied to the street surface then small gravel is applied and leveled and compacted into place.
  • Overlay - A new layer of asphalt or concrete, which adds structural strength and seals the surface. Often grinding or inlays are needed to match pavement grades or remove severely distressed pavement. (Cost ranges from $6 to $16 per square yard, depending on the overlay thickness and preparation).
  • Reconstruction - The most expensive street treatment, reconstruction entails extensive street repair work that involves excavating the existing street and rebuilding gravel road base and surface layers. (Cost ranges from $35 to $55 per square yard depending on the pavement section and preparation).

Question 8:
How is the fee determined?

     Customers are assigned one of two main categories, residential and non-residential. Residential customers are charged for maintaining local streets. Non-residential customers are charged for maintaining arterials. Maintenance of collector streets is equally shared. In addition, the fee is based on how many trips are considered the average for the property using data developed by the Institute of Traffic Engineers.

Question 9:
How much can l expect to pay?

     Single-family residential properties can expect to pay $4.50 per month the first year. The fee would increase by $1.50 per month for each of the next three years with a $2.00 per month increase the fifth year. Multi-family residential units can expect to pay about 70% of the single-family fee.
     Non-residential bills depend upon the type and size of the development. Five business groups were established based on similar trip rates per square feet of gross floor area (GFA). In the first year, business charges range from $0.154 to $7.70 per square feet of GFA, depending on the type of use and trip generation. This range would gradually increase to $0.384 to $19.20 per square foot of GFA over the following four years.

Question 10:
Why does the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) recommend using a value of 9.6 trips per day for single-family residential properties?

     The ITE “Trip Generation” report provides guidelines for traffic engineers and planners to understand how proposed land uses might add traffic to a local street system. The report presents results of surveys taken at existing land developments, and categorizes the results by type, time of day, how it compares to the size of the use.

     Single-family residential developments are among the most surveyed category of uses in the entire volume. Over 400 studies have been conducted at neighborhoods around the country. On average, one new housing unit will generate about 9 to 10 one-way vehicle trips each weekday. Some houses have less, other have more; but for a larger neighborhood with a range of family sizes, income levels, number of licensed drivers and registered cars, the average is a good indicator of overall trip intensity.

What does 10 one-way vehicle trips look like? For an average family, it could include some combination of the following:

  • Leaving and returning from work (2 one-way trips)
  • Taking a child to school in the morning and returning to pick them up in the afternoon (4 one-way trips)
  • Driving age children going to and from a friend’s house (2 one-way trips)
  • Trip to and from shopping (2 one-way trips)
  • Trip to and from family member's sporting event (2 one-way trips)
  • Local deliveries and service providers (U.S. Mail, Fed Ex, Trash/ recycle pick-up)
  • Trip to and from the doctor/pharmacy (2 one-way trips)
  • Trip to and from a restaurant of any type (2 one-way trips)
  • Trip to and from the recreation center or exercise facility (2 one-way trips)

Question 11:
What if I don’t agree with how the City calculates my fee?

     The proposed fee, like that of other cities with similar road fees, would allow businesses to request a re-examination of their fee. Residential fees must be accepted as the ITE average because while they may be lower on some days, they may be higher on other days.

Question 12:
Will there be hardship waivers?

     The residential customers who can show they meet Oregon’s low-income guidelines would be eligible for a reduced fee.

Question 13:
What about fees that the County and State talk about?

     The City Commission will re-evaluate the TUF program if other agencies adopt fees that can be used for maintaining the City’s street system.

Question 14:
Why are so many cities charging a street maintenance fee? What other Oregon cities have a Transportation Utility Fee?

     Many other cities are experiencing exactly what Oregon City faces: inadequate funding for transportation system maintenance. The old funding tools, state shared revenues from the Highway Fund (primarily the State gas tax) have not increased. Needs in most communities in Oregon have grown while funding has fallen behind.
     The cities of Ashland, Canby, Bay City, Corvallis, Eagle Point, Grants Pass, Hubbard, La Grande, Lake Oswego, Medford, Milwaukie, North Plains, Philomath, Phoenix, Talent, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, and Wilsonville all have a Transportation Utility Maintenance Fee.
Other cities actively pursuing a fee include Hillsboro, Eugene, and Silverton.

* Clatskanie and Dufur have street utility fees that are included in their fee schedule.

Question 15:
Who can I contact for questions regarding the Transportation Utility Fee?


Kathy Griffin
Administrative Assistant
City of Oregon City
320 Warner Milne Road
P. O. Box 3040
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
503.657.7892 fax