Truck bills falter in Oregon; fee increases on hold for now

| 7/9/2007

As the regular session in Oregon winded down recently, several trucking-related bills were parked.

House lawmakers voted 29-15 to kill one bill that would have increased taxes on truckers and other drivers. The additional revenue would have generated $125 million a year for roads.

Sponsored by Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, the bill called for increasing the state’s per gallon tax on gasoline by 5 cents. The bill – HB2653 – also would have established automatic tax increases of 5 cents every five years. For truckers, the corresponding weight-mile fees also would have increased.

A separate bill was intended to help generate another $200 million annually for roads. Sponsored by Rep. Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, the bill would have increased certain fees for cars and trucks.

The registration fee for an 80,000 pound truck would have increased from $490 annually to $660. Car registration fees would have risen from $27 per year to $39.

The bill – HB3018 – also would have mandated that 25 percent of the revenue from the higher fees be used for projects “of statewide significance.” It missed a deadline to advance from committee.

Another bill that missed a deadline to advance would have given weighmasters and motor carrier enforcement officers more power. The bill – HB3273 – would have allowed weighmasters or motor carrier enforcement officers to stop and detain vehicles. Vehicles would have been required to stop and submit to any enforcement “when directed to do so by any sign, warning lights or other signal.”

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor