Bend voters to decide on $190 million transportation bond in May

Bend voters in May will be asked to fund a $190 million bond measure to pay for an array of transportation improvement projects throughout the city.

City councilors Wednesday night unanimously agreed to put the bond measure on the May 19th primary ballot after two years of consideration and efforts to gauge public interest in paying for the projects.

The estimated cost to property owners would be about 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. According to the city, a home with a real market value of $415,000 and an assessed value of $220,000 (Bend’s citywide average) will pay about $170 per year.

Among the key projects slated for the bond are $36.5 million for work on Reed Market Road, including a railroad overpass;  $10 million to build a northbound on-ramp and southbound off-ramp on Highway 97 at Murphy Road; $5 million to build a roundabout or improve the traffic light at 3rd and Wilson and $1.4 million to widen Empire Avenue to five lanes near the Highway 97 interchange and add a traffic light at the southbound ramp.

New roundabouts or traffic signals also are in store for several busy east-west intersections including 4th and Revere, Olney and 4th, Ferguson Road and 15th, Wilson and 15th and O.B. Riley Road and Empire Avenue.

The money would also be used to improve sidewalk/bike path infrastructure in neighborhoods and along busy city streets to make it safer to walk and bike across town.

Bend Mayor Sally Russell said she hopes the bond will be successful because it addresses what many voters have said were their top transportation and traffic concerns.

“I believe this package of projects meets all kinds of needs for all of the members of our community,” Russell said. “So much work and time has gone into creating this well-balanced project list. This started with a couple of years of work by citywide transportation advisory committee members, and the priorities were a recurring theme we heard from all corners of our community.”

You can see a complete list of the 45 projects and get more info here: www.bendoregon.gov/safe-travel

Councilors also adopted a resolution to establish a bond oversight committee of community members to track and report on project expenses, schedule, and progress, if this measure passes.

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