ROADS/BRIDGES: $343.5 million transpo package DOA in Oregon

The disputed transportation package was a bipartisan effort

Law News June 26, 2015
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A controversial $343.5 million transportation funding package has died, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced.
The bipartisan, bicameral group-scribed plan was unveiled this past Tuesday night and received its first hearing in a Senate committee the following day. The plan would generate $200 million through an increased gas tax and motor vehicle fee to pay for road and bridge repairs, as well as authorized bonding for new projects and separate tax and fee increases for transit. The plan would have effectively quashed legislation passed earlier in the session extending Oregon’s clean fuels program, replacing it with other carbon-reduction measures.
“As yesterday's hearing demonstrated, both transportation and greenhouse gas emissions reductions are important and complicated policy questions that deserve adequate and focused attention,” Brown said in a statement. “We worked hard to find a way to address them as a package, but no solution emerged that accomplished that to the satisfaction of all parties.”
The proposal never really gained traction after Matt Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, said his staff had overestimated the greenhouse gas reduction potential of the transportation improvements.
In a statement, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) said he ended the talks and does not expect the Legislature to consider a transportation package this session. “The votes just aren't there. We're out of time in this session, but the Senate won't give up. Bridges still need to be fixed. Highways still need to be repaved. Culverts still need to be replaced. Buses need to run."
The state legislature faces a Constitutional deadline of July 11 to complete its work this session.

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