$5.3 billion transportation package passes Senate, on way to governor
A $5.3 billion statewide transportation package, which will bring around $3.43 million in new gas tax money to East Multnomah County, is headed to Gov. Kate Brown for a signature after the Senate passed the bill 22-to-7 Thursday, July 6.
"This is a critical and most important piece of legislation. This is the piece of legislation is what the 2017 session will be known for 20, 30, 40 years from now," said Sen. Rod. Monroe, D-Portland, one of 14 lawmakers who crafted the plan.
The House of Representatives passed the bill 39-to-20 Wednesday, July 5.
Because of tax hikes and new taxes, the bill required a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber, according to the Oregon Constitution.
The 10-year plan includes hikes in the gas tax, registration and title fees and new taxes on payroll, new vehicle purchases and bicycles priced more than $200.
The package also calls for congestion-priced tolling at some of Portland's bottlenecks. The Oregon Transportation Commission is responsible for establishing the program, which could toll certain lanes on Interstates 5 and 205 to pay for congestion-busting projects.
Among projects specified in the plan are congestion relief on Highway 217, widening northbound I-205 from Powell Boulevard to Interstate 84 and initial investment in adding new lanes to I-5 through Portland's Rose Quarter.
The plan also includes other projects around the state. Senators each received a summary Thursday, July 6, of what projects in their respective districts are included.
The plan hikes the state's existing 30-cent gas tax gradually over a seven-year period to a total of 40 cents.
With four fuels-tax increases to be gradually implemented through the next seven years, Gresham is projected to receive an additional $2.7 million; Troutdale, $405,000; Fairview, $226,000, and $99,000 for Wood Village.
Registration fees would climb by $13 and title fees by $16 in 2018. Beginning in 2020, the state would move toward a tiered system of registration and title fees based on a vehicle's gas mileage.
The plan also levies a 0.5 percent tax on the purchase of new vehicles. About $12 million of the revenue from the proceeds of the vehicle excise tax would be used for rebates on the purchase of electric vehicles.
A $15 flat fee would be charged on the purchase of new adult bicycles with a price tag of more than $200. The proceeds of that would go toward paying for commuter bicycle and pedestrian paths.