Oregon road-repair bill heads to governor

| 7/28/2003

A $2.5 billion plan to fix Oregon’s roads and bridges is headed to the governor for approval.

The transportation-funding plan gained final approval in the House July 23 after the Senate passed the bill with amendments earlier this month.

HB2041, as amended, would eliminate an estimated $4 million gap in the 2003-2005 budget.

The amended version doesn’t stray far from the original 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 plan would raise over 10 years comes from bonds repaid from higher vehicle registration and title fees, higher permit and license fees on drivers and higher weight-mile taxes on truckers.

About $1.6 billion would go toward repairing or replacing 480 bridges on the state’s major highways. The rest of the money would go to cities, counties and the state for road projects.

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.