Oregon Senate approves road-repair bill

| Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Oregon Senate voted in favor of a multibillion-dollar plan to fix Oregon’s roads and bridges. The revised package delays a tax credit for truckers.

The transportation-funding plan returns to the House, which is scheduled to act on Senate amendments early this week, the Statesman Journal reported. It is likely to accept them and pass HB2041 to the governor for approval.

The proposal, as amended, would eliminate an estimated $4 million gap in the 2003-2005 budget, addressing concerns by senators that had derailed a scheduled floor vote on the bill earlier this month.

The amended version approved by the Senate July 17 doesn’t stray far from the original version that breezed through the House last month. But it deletes a provision giving truckdrivers $3 million a year for buying cleaner engines, and as much as $2 million a year to pay for mass transit and other purposes.

The compromise retains only the tax credit, but delays implementation so truckers could not claim it until 2005, The Oregonian reported. Truckers would be reimbursed from $400 to $925 for each engine bought in calendar years 2004 through 2007. The credit would still be limited to $3 million each year.

Most of the $2.5 billion the transportation-financing plan would raise over 10 years comes from bonds repaid from higher vehicle registration and title fees.

Commercial truck registration fees would increase about 53 percent, and their weight-mile taxes would climb almost 10 percent starting Jan. 1, the newspaper reported. Car title fees would increase from $30 to $55 starting Jan. 1. Registration fees would go from $30 to $54 every two years.