ELECTION 2014: Louisiana, Oregon voters to decide on road fund, driver cards

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, October 02, 2014

Voters in Louisiana and Oregon will cast ballots next month on transportation-related issues.

Louisiana voters will decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow for the investment of public funds into a yet-to-be-created transportation infrastructure bank.

Amendment 4 on the statewide ballot would also set up a revolving loan program for municipalities to borrow for road improvements.

The amendment would not make changes to the state’s existing tax and fee collection. Specifically, it would create a structure for the movement of funds if and when the state establishes an infrastructure bank.

Supporters say that new financing sources are needed to address road improvements and infrastructure needs that would increase safety and reduce congestion. They also say the current fuel tax is not keeping up with the growing costs and needs of highway work.

Opponents say the funding mechanism should not be implemented until the Legislature can agree on a complementary package of bills that would fully put into practice an infrastructure bank and its financing process.

In Oregon, voters can weigh in on an effort to grant driver’s cards to residents unable to prove they are in the U.S. legally. Affected drivers would not be eligible for commercial driver’s licenses.

Applicants would be required to pass a written and driving test, provide proof of residency in the state for at least one year, and provide proof of identity and date of birth. The cards could not be used for identification purposes other than proof of their authorization by the state to drive.

Measure 88 is a veto referendum to overturn a 2013 Oregon law to make four-year driver licenses available to affected drivers.

Advocates for the driver cards say it will help Oregon residents follow the law and improve safety on the road by reducing the number of uninsured and unlicensed drivers.

The one-year-old law was put on hold to await the Election Day outcome. If the referendum fails, the law will take effect on Dec. 4.

The deadline to register to vote for the fall election in Oregon is Oct. 15. In Louisiana, the registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 6.

For more 2014 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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