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A provision in the legislation requires the entire bill to be repealed if voters successfully challenge any piece of it.

PARIS ACHEN/CAPITAL BUREAU - The 14-member Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization meets May 17, 2017, at the Oregon Capitol in Salem.SALEM — Oregon's proposed 10-year, multi-billion-dollar transportation package could be repealed in its entirety if voters challenge even one of its provisions.

Legislators said they added that caveat to the transportation bill because projects and programs depend on corresponding increases in taxes and fees in the package.

"The logic is that this is a package. If you pull one string, the whole thing comes apart," said Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Maintenance.

Legislative counsel, who drafted the provisions of the package, unveiled the first draft of the 298-page legislation to the committee Wednesday, May 31.

The 14-member committee will hold public hearings on the bill June 5-7 at the state Capitol in Salem. A vote on the House floor could come as soon as mid-June.

"I am feeling relieved we have (the package) out on the table," Beyer said. "I don't think the Oregon Legislature has ever done as openly transparent a package as this."

Beginning last year, the committee held meetings throughout the state to speak to constituents about their transportation needs and held open meetings at the Capitol to negotiate specifics of the package.

The end result would raise about $8 billion over a 10-year period to pay for projects to relieve congestion, maintain roads and bridges and enhance safety for different types of commuters.

The money for the plan would come from a combination of hikes in the gas tax and registration and license fees, tolls, new taxes on payroll, vehicle dealers and adult bicycle purchases.

The plan identifies a few specific projects to ease congestion, but other projects would be prioritized by the Oregon Transportation Commission. Specific projects would:

• Add lanes on Interstate 5 near Portland's Rose Quarter from Interstate 84 to Interstate 405.

• Add northbound and southbound lanes on Highway 217 through the Portland metro area.

• Widen Interstate 205 to six lanes from Oregon City to Stafford Road.

• Widen and seismically reinforce Interstate 205's Abernethy Bridge.

The plan raises an average of about $800 million per year in additional transportation funding.

The money would come from increases in the gas tax and vehicle fees and a set of new taxes over the next 10 years, including:

• Gradual gas tax increase from 30 cents to 42 cents by 2025.

• Tiered increases in title and registration fees, depending on type of vehicle.

• A surcharge of $100 for electric vehicles, and $15 for other vehicles.

• Statewide payroll tax of one-tenth of 1 percent to pay for mass transit.

• Tolls to be determined.

• Bicycle excise tax of 3 percent.

• Dealer privilege tax of 0.75 percent on new and used vehicle purchases.

The bill also includes several accountability measures, including:

• Giving authority to appoint the director of the Oregon Department of Transportation to the Oregon Transportation Commission.

• Requiring a website where taxpayers could follow the progress and budgets of projects in their area.

• Providing an independent staff for the OTC, which sets policy for ODOT.

The state's December and January snowstorms also shaped the package. One provision requires ODOT and cities with a population greater than 160,000 to salt roads when more there is more than 2 inches of snow on the ground.


Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
503-385-4899
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