PORTLAND -- Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick wants to know if residents are willing to pay a new tax for road repairs and maintenance.

Novick is behind a telephone poll that s underway right now, gauging the willingness of residents to pay $8 to $12 a month to fix their streets.

Taxpayers already contribute $77 million for transportation, with $17 million going to maintenance. But Novick says deferred maintenance on city roads totals more than $750 million.

The longer we delay in fixing the roads the more expensive it is to fix them, said Novick.

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It is clear to many that local roads need work.

I think the roads are in crappy shape, said Portland resident Christopher Webster. I think we need to fix our infrastructure.

Novick admits the city diverted $80 million in road maintenance money to the Sellwood Bridge under Mayor Sam Adams. But he's confident taxpayers will agree to a new tax for roads next year.

Roads are like teeth, Novick warned. If you don t do regular brushing and flossing and cleaning you end up with root canals and extractions that are more expensive.

But not everyone likes the idea. Katy Fackler said she'd prioritize other things first.

It all adds up. I'd rather spend $12 a month on the schools, on the library, Fackler said.

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