Portland, Ore., seeking local HVUT to pay for roadways

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 4/21/2016

Looking for a way for truckers to help pay for its roadways, the city of Portland, Ore., is proposing a four-year local heavy vehicle use tax, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The tax is in lieu of a diesel fuel tax.

Businesses that currently pay the Oregon weight-mile tax will be subject to the Portland Heavy Vehicle Use Tax if passed. No more than a 2.8 percent tax based on a business’s statewide weight-mile tax will be levied. Portland estimates a 2.8 percent rate will generate $2.5 million annually.

In the third year of the program, the city will assess money generated. If Portland exceeds its goal of $2.5 million, it may reduce the rate for the final two years of the program.

Portland is currently seeking a 10-cent tax on gasoline to fund street repairs and other transportation-related projects. Scheduled to be on the ballot in May, the fuel tax does not include a diesel tax. According to PBOT documents, the city opted out of a diesel tax in fear of heavy trucks driving past the city’s only truck stop.

The City of Portland calculated that 86.7 percent of additional revenue should come from light vehicles and 13.3 percent from heavy vehicles. Approximately $16 million in revenue is expected from the 10-cent gasoline tax, leaving the goal of $2.5 million for trucks.

The proposed plan can go into effect regardless of the outcome of the gas tax in May. Slated for a city council meeting on May 4, the proposal is not subject to a general population vote.

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