Road salt, used car sales tax in latest Oregon road funding bill

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon legislators and the public got their first look at a proposed 10-year, $8.2 billion transportation infrastructure spending bill Wednesday night.

As expected, the 298-page bill would impose higher gas taxes, increased vehicle title and registration fees, tolls on portions of Interstate 5, and a payroll tax to fund public transit.

It also contained a few surprises:

Large cities would have to salt at least 25 percent of their roads if more than 2 inches of snow falls over a 12-hour period.

And a proposed tax on new car sales also would apply to used cars.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the bill at hearings June 5, 6 and 7.

More: 'Rush hour toll,' tax on new bicycles part of Oregon transportation plan

Lawmakers asked staff to compile a summary of the weighty bill’s provisions, as well as an index, ahead of the hearings.

“You hand even a reporter, or anybody this, and they’re going to freak out,” Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, said at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Transportation and Modernization.

Among the provisions:

  • The current 30 cent per gallon state fuel tax would increase by 6 cents next year, and another 2 cents every other year through 2026.
  • For 2018-19, registration fees would increase by $15, or $100 for electric vehicles. For 2020-21, an additional fee would be levied based on a vehicle’s mileage: $15 for vehicles getting 0-19 miles per hour; $25 for those at 20-49 mph; $35 for those getting more than 40 mpg; and $105 for electric vehicles. Those tiered fees each would increase by $5 every two years through 2025.
  • A 0.75 percent excise tax on dealer vehicle sales would begin next year. That’s down from the 1 percent originally proposed.
  • A statewide employee payroll tax of 0.1 percent would take effect next year. It would cost a minimum wage worker about $20 per year, or a worker with an annual salary of about $50,000 about $50 per year.
  • A 3 percent tax on sales of new, adult bicycles costing $500 or more would begin next year.

The committee has been working for a year to gather public input and put together a bill. It follows a failed attempt to pass a transportation infrastructure funding package during the 2015 legislative session.

The proposal would bring in an estimated $509.1 million next year, increasing gradually to $1.1 billion in 2027.

For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter tloew@statesmanjournal.com, 503-399-6779 or follow on Twitter.com/Tracy_Loew

© 2017 KGW-TV


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