Oregon bridges may improve quickly

News AASHTO Journal July 01, 2003
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The Oregon House of Representatives recently approved a $2

The Oregon House of Representatives recently approved a $2.5 billion bridge-funding bill. The bill, which passed the House 48-11 because of opposition to a tax credit for truckers, is now being considered in the Oregon Senate, where passage is expected.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who has made bridge financing a centerpiece of his agenda, is expected to sign the bill. Kulongoski and supporting lawmakers have termed the measure crucial to economic development.

The vote came after five months of private negotiations over how best to fix hundreds of cracked and load-limited bridges that threaten the state's depressed economy.

The compromise plan uses bonds to raise $1.6 billion during 10 years for 480 bridges, $371 million for local maintenance and $500 million for statewide modernization. Supporters say the plan will sustain 4,750 construction-related jobs a year.

Car title fees would increase from $30 to $55 starting Jan. 1. Registration fees would go from $30 to $54 every two years. Commercial trucker registration fees would increase 53%, and their weight-mile taxes would rise by almost 10%.

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