The 2017 Legislature passed a major transportation bill (HB 2017) which included a provision for statewide funding of public transportation. The funding is based on a payroll tax on employees. The Oregon Department of Revenue began assessing the tax July 1, 2018 and has provided estimates of available revenues for fiscal years 2019 – 2021. Based on these estimates the Cherriots Board will review a plan recommended by its Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund Advisory Committee at its next meeting scheduled for 6:00 pm Senator Hearing Room 555 Court St., NE.
The Department of Revenue’s estimate indicates that the Cherriots and related districts will receive in excess of $10 million during the three year period. The plan calls for start-up expenditure but no additional service during fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). The start-up costs include hiring and training additional drivers and other personnel as well as the establishment of reserve funds. According to the plan fiscal years, 2020 and 2021 will include new service for Saturdays and possibly Sundays and Holidays along with some extended evening service. The Saturday service, which should start by the Fall of 2019, will involve a substantial array of most routes on 60 and 30-minute schedules. Sunday and Holiday services will be for a reduced number of routes and a lesser frequency.
The Board will conclude its deliberations on its advisory committee’s plan and forward its proposal to the Oregon Department of Transportation by November 1st. ODOT will thereafter provide final approval.