State transportation bill unveiled, would collect $5 billion in taxes

The Oregon Legislature finally unveiled its intensely negotiated plan for upgrading roads and extending transit statewide -- at the suggested taxpayer price of $5.3 billion

The 295-page bill proposing a slew of taxes and fees emerged late Friday afternoon. It includes a 10 cent boost to the state gas tax over six years, a 0.5 percent tax on new car sales and a $15 tax on bicycle sales greater than $200.

The bill is a whittled-down version of a proposal introduced in May. It's main purpose is to repair roads and build bike paths and other transportation-related projects in the coming seven years.

The initial proposal would have raised $8.2 billion over 10 years, compared with the new figure of $5.3 billion over seven years.

The Joint Committee on Transportation and Modernization will begin discussing the bill at 1 p.m. Saturday in Capitol hearing room F. Lawmakers hope to pass the bill before July 10, when they're constitutionally required to adjourn the session.

The bill originated during five months of hearings in 11 cities conducted across the state by the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization in 2016.

The bill includes $10 million per year for Safe Routes to Schools (improvements to sidewalks, cross walks and bike lanes) and $30 million per year for Interstate 5 expansion in the Portland Rose Quarter.

The bill also includes $12 million in rebates for people who buy low or zero-emission cars.

Lawmakers negotiated some changes to the state's clean fuels standard, but the new rules will go into effect only in certain circumstances and environmental groups didn't believe there would be significant negative impact.

In 2015, when majority Democrats adopted the clean fuels standards, Republican lawmakers refused to go along with any transportation package. This year, the parties reached some common ground.

“We’re happy,” said Brad Reed, spokesman for the Renew Oregon advocacy group. "The program's integrity is intact."

The proposed bill would earmark $201 million for projects in ODOT Region 2, which includes Marion and Polk counties.

Projects the bill would help fund

--  I-5 at Aurora-Donald Interchange, Phase 1

-- OR 99E in City of Halsey

-- OR 214 pedestrian safety improvements at the intersection with Jefferson Street in City of Silverton

-- US 20 Safety Upgrades: Albany to Corvallis

-- OR 22, Center Street Bridge seismic retrofit in City of Salem

Summary of taxes in the proposed bill

GAS TAX: Up 4 cents per gallon in January 2018 and then up 2 percents per gallon every two years until 2024 for a total increase of 10 cents per gallon

BIKE TAX: $15 tax on bicycle purchases of $200 or more

CAR REGISTRATION FEES:  Raises the basic fee to $56 and adds sums based on miles per gallon beginning in 2020:

-- For vehicles that have a rating of 0-19 MPG, $18

-- For vehicles that have a rating of 20-39 MPG, $23.

-- For vehicles that have a rating of 40 MPG or greater, $33

-- For electric vehicles, $110.

The fees will bump up by a couple of bucks in 2022.

TRANSIT PAYROLL TAX:  0.1 percent on all employees

NEW CAR SALES: 0.5 percent

ELECTRIC/HYBRID PURCHASE REBATE: $2,500 electric purchase, $1,500 hybrid purchase

© 2017 KGW-TV


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