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Kulongoski proposes gas tax increase, outlines '09 transportation bill

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 10th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Governor Ted Kulongoski held a hearing in front of lawmakers this morning in Salem to announce his Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009.

In an effort to raise money to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements and create jobs, Kulongoski proposed a 2-cent increase to the gas tax and a host of motor vehicle-related fees. The BTA's Karl Rohde, who attended the hearing, says the governor is also considering a bicycle excise tax.

In his statement this morning, Kulongoski invoked Oregon's $2.5 billion transportation bill that passed the Legislature in the "tough times" of 2003. Kulongoski reminded his colleagues that back then, even while the state slashed $2 billion out of the budget, schools closed early, and Oregon's unemployment rate skyrocketed, they still managed to pass the, "largest investment in roads and bridges in Oregon since the building of our share of the Interstate Highway System."

Kulongoski's plan (which is outlined in a copy of his testimony forwarded to me by Karl Rohde) is estimated to pump $3.1 billion dollars into the economy in the first five years and it includes $600 million in one-time funding to, "help relieve bottlenecks in our transportation system."

The plan, which Kulongoski calls JTA, will create more than 6,700 jobs and will also:

"invest 50-million in state highway modernization projects; provide a quarter billion dollars for road programs in cities and counties; and allocate fifteen million to continue our progress toward a new Columbia River Crossing – an absolutely critical investment for the Oregon economy."

To pay for the plan Kulongoski wants a 2-cent increase to the gas tax, a doubling of the vehicle titling fee (to $110/year), an increase to the vehicle registration fee (from $27 a year to $81 a year) and the creation of a $100-a-year fee for titling cars new to the state.

Also in his address, Kulongoski told lawmakers that the second major goal of his plan is to create the "most sustainable transportation package in Oregon history."

To do that, he said Oregon should offer incentives for the purchase of electric cars (the "next generation of highly efficient vehicles") and "a comprehensive transportation options program designed to reduce the number of cars on the road."

In an effort to develop a "a long-term funding source to replace the gas tax," the governor has set up a Road User Fee Task Force. His plan also creates a Transportation Utility Commission, modeled on the Public Utility Commission, in order to "develop a conceptual framework for setting transportation rates."

The BTA's government affairs director Karl Rohde was in Salem for the announcement this morning and he said many of the details of the plan are yet to be worked out -- including how bicycles might figure into things.

Rohde has a conference call set with Kulogoski's staff tomorrow where he hopes to hear more about possible bike infrastructure funding programs in the new plan.

"It's my understanding," Rohde told me this morning, "that the governor recognizes the importance of bicycling to the state, and that his eventual proposal will include funding for bicycle programs."

In addition to fees that will hit motor vehicle operators, Rohde said that other new taxes might be in the works. One of them is a possible excise tax on the sale of bicycles.

Rohde says the bicycle excise tax idea came up when the topic of a bicycle registration fee was raised during a meeting of the governor's Transportation Vision Committee (of which Rohde was a member). Details on the potential bike tax are still being worked out but so far it would likely be a fee tacked on at the point of sale and funds would go toward specific bicycle programs.

Questions that remain are the amount of the tax, if it should be based on the value or type of bike, whether or not it should be waved for children's bikes, and so on.

An estimated $1.5 million a year could be raised with a new bike tax. Rohde says the funds might be tied to a specific program, like Safe Routes to Schools.

According to Rohde, a bike tax was considered a few sessions ago, but it was quickly killed by big box retailers, who account for 75% of the state's bicycle sales.

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  • Susan Otcenas November 10, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Incentives for the purchase of hybrid cars, but DISincentives (ie. taxes) for the purchase of bicycles?? Makes no sense at all.

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  • why not as a percentage??? November 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    2 cents a gallon??? The advisory panel recommended an increase of between 2 and 8 cents, it would be nice to see him at least starting out somewhere in the middle.

    Better still would be to rewrite the tax so that it is charged as a percentage of the cost. At the current price of around 2 dollars a gallon it is about 12%. Then just change how we collect it so that we charge 12% of the price of gas. This way we don't have to worry about adjusting it as time goes on. The gas tax hasn't changed at all in many years precisely because we tied it to the volume instead of the price.

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  • bahueh November 10, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    the proposed reg. fee is a bit steep in my mind (as a car owner) but I'd rather see usage fees increase like a higher gas tax ($0.05?) instead of one time fees or biannual fees increase so much...

    I can choose to buy less gas...I have to register a vehicle with the state.

    as for the bike tax....when its recognized by state law that riders have a right to live and be protected equally under the law, I may listen to the proposition of a bike tax...until then, I'm voting NO and would harass Kulongowski's office ENDLESSLY if one were proposed...

    Safe Routes to schools is great and all...although I don't think most of Maus's readers, nor the majority of commuters, are still attending elementary or secondary school...

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  • peejay November 10, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    The bicycle tax, while I would be prepared to pay it, is not really that workable. Unless there's a companion plan to register all bikes - and bust people for not registering - all it will lead to is people buying bikes out of state, hurting our LBS's.

    Why not charge more for drivers licenses? Almost everyone who bikes also drives, and those who don't still need a state ID card, which can also cost more.

    Anyway, what I like about this idea is that everybody - well, everyone who drives, or wants to get into a bar - pays something towards the transport infrastructure. But since we all know we use the infrastructure at an unequal rate, the majority of the revenue should be from fuel use, and then from weight-scaled registration fees on vehicles.

    So, yeah sure, let's all pay. But I think we should pay proportionally to our footprint.

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  • Mark Johnson November 10, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    A bike tax? Why don't we also create toll on the Springwater Corridor, the bike friendly bridges, and other pedestrian ways and bike paths?!? Ridiculous.

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  • Matt M November 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    bahueh- While most of use don't attend elementary or secondary school, many of us do have children in these schools, and some of us ride our kids to school everyday in auto congested "school zones".

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  • Dave November 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Why such a chickenshit little gas tax increase? How about $0.25? We're going to pay more soon--better to pay it to the state general fund than to the ***deleted*** that are sitting on the oil.

    *Dave, insults like that are not tolerated. Thanks -- Editor.

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  • Kt November 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    And even if we don't have kids, odds are we have to drive or ride through at least one school zone on the way to work (or home from work).

    So we all benefit. Although some people benefit more than others.

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  • Rob November 10, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    An interesting example would be to look at Colorado Springs, which has had an excise tax on bicycle sales since 1992:

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/tax_39413___article.html/barry_years.html

    The key points in this article for me -
    1.) Their tax is used to pay for bicycle-specific infrastructure. I'd be happy to throw in $4 every time I buy a new bike as long as it's specifically being used to improve the bike network.

    2.) Their tax doesn't apply to used bikes or bikes with wheel diameters of 14" or less, only new sales. So kids bikes and Craigslist offerings aren't affected.

    3.) It looks the local government actively worked with their local bike shops to build support for the tax instead of forcing it on them.

    If Governor Kulongoski wishes to pursue this bicycle tax, he'd do well to work with the cycling community to develop a fair system that borrows some of the good ideas in the Colorado Springs model.

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  • John Reinhold November 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Safe Routes to schools is great and all...although I don't think most of Maus's readers, nor the majority of commuters, are still attending elementary or secondary school...

    Parents who feel their children have safer alternatives for biking will let their kids more.

    Kids who bike more and feel safer and more comfortable grow up to be bicyclists.

    Safer bicycling habits learned early reduce the overall costs and risks of bicycle related injury. Frequent bicycling increases physical fitness for kids and reduces strains on the health care system for the lifetime of the individual.

    Just like good schools benefit everyone, good bicycling skills and habits for kids will benefit everyone as well.

    Oh yeah, the $.02 is too little. And it should be tied to inflation.

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  • canuck November 10, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    How about taking a page from British Columbia.

    All bikes are tax free.

    And if you purchase accessories at the same time as a bike, they too are tax free.

    You get people to use alternative forms of transportation by making them more attractive. Adding a tax to bikes makes them stand out from everyother product bought in the state.

    As someone who works with retailers this creates a major headache. Retailers will have to remember to add the tax to the item manually or figure our how to add a tax to a single group of items in their Point of Sale system. The retailer also has to collect the money and submit it to the state.

    Now even more fun, does the state have a way to collect and manage this money? What is the cost benefit of collecting this money vs the administrative cost of colelcting the money?

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  • BURR November 10, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    If the state wants to reduce road maintenance costs, banning studded tires should be at the top of their agenda, followed closely by a weight-based vehicle registration fee, not a bicycle excise tax.

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  • peejay November 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Don't ban studded tires; just make them pay for the damage they cause, which would make them about $1000 for a set, or more. And if you get caught in Portland with chains on the 1459 out of 1460 days when they are not needed ( I figure one good snow storm every four years), you car is impounded.

    Yes: higher gas tax, and not per gallon, but per dollar! Price of gas goes up => revenue goes up!

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  • Coaster November 10, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    What about a gas tax based on MPG? So the worse mileage your car gets, the higher tax you pay per gallon. That might actually incentive-ize more efficient vehicles...

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  • Hanmade November 10, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    As far as car registration fees go, please make them based on the car's purchase price. If you can afford an expensive car, you can afford to pay more tax, and vice versa.

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  • jrep November 10, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    The title transfer fees are "per event" not "per year" as described in the article.

    The Governor's proposal is intended to fund congestion relief, among other things, so it's ironic that most of the revenue would come from title fees and annual licensing fees. The purchase or ownership of a motor vehicle does not necessarily contribute to congestion, so I think he's seeking to extract revenue from the wrong thing.

    I will support a gas tax increase of any amount, but oppose higher fees on licensing. As long as my car sits in the garage, it will not be causing any congestion and no wear and tear on the roads. If people drove as little as my family does, we'd not need new auto capacity or any imported oil, but I do need a car for certain purposes. The user fees should be based on use.

    A gas tax may not be perfect, but it's fairer than so many other forms of taxation. Among other things, it does cause people who own inefficient cars or drive alot to pay more. It encourages good things, like bicycling, walking and carpooling.

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  • Matthew Denton November 10, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    So a tax on bicycles but a subsidy for electric cars is like a tax on CFLs, but a subsidy on Solar Panels. It makes no sense at all. It isn't that I'm opposed to paying a few dollars, but lets put things into perspective.

    And if they raise the state id cards fees, people will get/use passports instead of id cards. They don't require renewal as often, and they are accepted more places than a state id card is. (Drivers licenses are a different matter: They are a license, not just a piece of identification.)

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  • red hippie November 10, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    No problem with a consumption based tax such as for gasoline, tires or sales tax. A excise tax on bicycle is just plain regressive.

    If evenly applied, it would disproportionately effect the poor more than the rich. If based on the value of the vehicle, it essentially would only hit the middle class. For example who is going to go after some poor guy on a huffy? The guy buying the Pinarello won't care, but the bulk of this is going to hit the middle class.

    So the state will only raise $1.5 million a year from this. Won't the costs just to administer the program out weigh the amount of money raised. Instead the benefit will have to be higher for the State than a measly 1.5. Taxes always go up. They rarely go down.

    We will essentially see the reverse of Washentonians shopping tax free at Janzen Beach. Instead oregonians will just go to Wa., Calif, and Id to buy their bikes. maybe Rivercity will open a Vancouver branch in the near future.

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  • r November 10, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    an excise tax by its nature is designed as a disincentive to the taxed behavior. the only infrastructure a transportational cyclist needs is a well-paved road with adequate traffic controls. the roads are already paid for by everyone -- in fact, the wear and tear motorists impose on the roads is largely subsidized by taxes other than fuel excises, no matter what motorists pretend to believe. unlike motorists, cyclists and pedestrians impose no special burden on the road infrastructure. maybe we should impose an excise tax on shoes.

    it is unclear whether BTA is opposing this, but they should.

    also, very few kids' bikes have wheel diameters less than 14 inches.

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  • ambrown November 10, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Gas just went down in price by $2 a gallon. Oregonians can afford to invest at least .10 cents of that per gallon savings back into the infrastructure that will provide for us when gas prices rise again in the very near future.

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  • Jebus November 11, 2008 at 12:11 am

    If they have a tax incentive for buying electric cars (that will charge in your home, raising your electricity costs, and simply burn fuel at the power plant instead of at the pumps...) and also add a tax to the purchase of a bicycle (which uses energy only in the creation and transportation, not in the use, of the bicycle) seems backwards as &%($.

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  • TS November 11, 2008 at 12:17 am

    Re: comment #2 (and #13)

    It's actually quite hard to assess fuel tax as a percentage of its final price because the tax is assessed at wholesale distribution level, long before it ever reaches a pump and has a fixed price. It would be relatively easy to index to inflation, but not to the ultimate sale price of the fuel.

    --

    What I want to know, is how revenues from a statewide bicycle tax would be distributed. Are we going to collect $1.5M in taxes then spend it all on bicycle infrastructure in Ontario or Basque? Are we going to collect $1.5M in taxes then spend it all in Portland? Neither seems fair.

    Bicycling is a fundamentally [b]local[/b] phenomenon, and the infrastructure to support it is, most of the time, [b]local[/b]. It seems only reasonable to me that the taxes and revenue from it should be [b]local[/b].

    --

    To those who object to an excise tax... Take it as a given that we want to generate revenue from bicycle riders. You (and I) may not agree with that, but let's pretend for a moment. What other mechanism works better for collecting that revenue? I'm not thrilled about an excise tax, but if we're gonna generate revenue, I'm even less thrilled with any of the alternatives that I can imagine.

    As for people going out-of-state to buy a bicycle, I don't think that's going to be a significant impact. The inconvenience of driving or shipping across the State line is bad enough most people won't even blink at a few bucks to be able to see the bike, fit it, and try it out on the streets they're going to ride, right near home.

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  • Coyote November 11, 2008 at 6:21 am

    "Excise - A hateful tax levied on commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid."

    Samuel Johnson 1775

    Tedski, Hillary did not win, Obama did. It is a time for change. Not a time for the same old ca-ca.

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  • kiwimunki November 11, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Kulongoski wants to deliver "the most sustainable transportation package in Oregon history" and "reduce the number of cars on the road" while allocating $15M towards the development of a new Columbia River Crossing?

    Sounds like contradictory goals to me. Let's hope he keeps his goal of sustainability in mind as he spends that cash on a project that has the potential to encourage car commuting and dump thousands more vehicles into downtown Portland.

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  • Jim Labbe November 11, 2008 at 8:27 am

    It's critical that a broad coalition of conservationists, cyclists, alternative transportation and land-use advocates get and stay involved in the state and federal transportation investment decisions. Governor Ted Kulongoski sounds good when he talks about a "sustainable transportation system" that helps meet "the state’s goals on greenhouse gas reduction," but the politics of setting funding priorities will key as entrenched interests will resist this direction.

    The news reports talked about how new funding will be raised and much less on what the funds will be spent on. I hope bikeportland.org can and will keep us informed on this front.

    Jim

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  • Zaphod November 11, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Dave #7 No need to add hateful language.

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  • Brad November 11, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Who knew bike riders were such rabid anti-tax, Grover Norquist type Republicans?

    In all seriousness, the excise tax would amount to what, $5-40 on the purchase of a bike? Big deal. You would burn more gas and precious time than that to travel to the 'Couv just to save a few dollars. Besides, if we paid a few bucks every so often and the money went to bike infrastructure then the right wing radio nuts and bloggers could no longer claim that we cyclists were not paying our fair share.

    Paying a small tax buys bikes a great deal of legitimacy and political clout.

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  • underwhelmed November 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

    A 2 cent gas tax increase will cost the average Oregonian approximately $10 per year. woo hoo. That's assuming the average Oregonian drives 10,000 miles and gets 20 mpg.

    The Portland Region represents approximately half of the state's population and is primed to be emphasize bicycle transportation. Investing in bicycle infrastructure is not only a great return on investment for transportation dollars, it also addresses a lot of other problems. Obesity. Climate Change. Keeping money in local economies. Congestion.

    Where's the money for building a bicycle infrastructure?

    If Kulongoski's proposal were to be the basis of the next federal transportation bill, it would be appropriately called "WEAK TEA."

    C'mon Ted. Be bold. Leave a legacy to be proud of--not just somne bigger roads.

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  • Rico November 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    The Oregonian article says that road maintenance costs have doubled since 15 years ago when the gas tax was last raised to 24 cents/gal. It seems like at least a 24 cent increase is necessary. Let’s round it off to an even 50 cents/gal. The extra 2 cents a gallon can go to bike/ped infrastructure. An increase of 2 cents isn’t worth the fight. You should read the message board on Oregonlive about this; they’re up in arms about any increase, Obama’s win, tax and spend Democrats, etc. It’s as if Kulongoski were taking away their guns.

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  • Bert November 11, 2008 at 11:14 am

    If they want to start getting more cars off the road, then don't make it harder for people to purchase a bike. Give tax brakes to bike owners and commuters. it just doesn't make sense.

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  • Pete November 11, 2008 at 11:27 am

    red hippie (#18): I think the 8.5+% sales tax in California and Washington would keep people from buying their new bikes there to avoid the Oregon excise fee, which would likely be lower. Buying online would create a different scenario though, but again, shipping costs would probably exceed the proposed excise fee.

    Personally I'm glad to see the governor have the spine to propose a gas tax increase, no matter its size. The reality is an increased gas tax will create funds to add jobs and improve transportation. During this past election I saw many negative campaign flyers touting that the opponent voted to raise the gas tax - usually at the top of the list of 'negatives'. For me it backfired, and in one case helped swing my vote, despite the fact I drive nearly 300 miles a week and am directly impacted by higher gas costs. I'd still rather see problem-solvers in government instead of politicians.

    Oh, and yeah, get the damned studded tires off the road. I drive in snow all winter (live in the gorge at elevation) and did much worse back when I foolishly believed studded tires were good in snow. Now I swear by Blizzaks, or really anything with a true winter compound and lug pattern. And you should see the pitch on my driveway! ;)

    And while I'm on a soapbox, electric cars are overrated. Hybrid technology, on the other hand, has been far more innovative. For example the recent Paris auto show highlighted several cars with energy-harvesting brakes (thus allowing the alternator to detach load and improve MPG). The success of the Prius has arguably forced designers to break tradition, but electric cars remain less than viable with questionable benefit. Incentivizing them while penalizing bicycles is ludicrous (as Matthew points out in #17).

    When I can buy a hybrid that I can plug into a non-net-metered PV system on my house and charge through the night I'll be happy. Until then I'm not so impressed by the shelf life and environmental impact of current electric storage (pardon pun please). So I'll ride my bike whenever I can (and am still looking for a generator to harvest my own power when training through the peak of winter).

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  • Pete November 11, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Dave (#7): I've never seen a Nigerian with a rag on his head, nor a Venezuelan for that matter. I just came back from Texas and saw lots of uncovered heads there, as in California and Florida, and in Alaska it's doubtful a rag would keep one's head all that warm.

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  • Pete November 11, 2008 at 11:46 am

    ambrown (#20): FYI, gas was $1.60 in south Texas where I just returned from. Adding $.10 would still nearly halve what I paid in Beaverton before leaving.

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  • bob November 11, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I'd like to see at least a $5/gallon gas tax.

    Throw in a whopping 200-300% bicycle excise tax, would be a good impetus to get people walking again.

    Maybe even throw in a subsidy to increase horsie commuting.

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  • Tony Fuentes November 11, 2008 at 11:53 am

    This transportation package is really a short-term economic stimulus package - which is why it is called the JOBS and Transportation Act of 2009 (emphasis added).

    As for the revenue elements in the package, the vast majority of funding will come from increased registration and title fees for motor vehicles. The gas tax increase is playing a distant third fiddle in this funding scheme.

    The small role of gas taxes in the package is definitely political - even a year ago 4 cent per gallon increase was the max that polled well - but hopefully it is also a recognition that demand for gas is down and it is going to stay down.

    Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is going to stay flat or reduce while overall average fuel efficiency is going to increase - and technology will move the fleet away from gas entirely in time. When those efficiency and technology gains kick in, VMT will increase but gas consumption will not track with that increase.

    The future of state and local transportation funding will probably be a continued mix of flat fees associated with ownership plus a usage surcharge based on miles traveled (easy enough to determine during emissions testing). This is far from a new idea and perhaps it is an idea whose time will finally soon come.

    However - putting that revenue tangent aside - my biggest questions are about the investment side not the revenue.

    We need to get past the easy politcal fixes and focus on building a more durable state and local economy.

    The projects used for this "stimulus" package need to reflect the long view and support efficient use of the transportation system - rather than promoting inefficient land use or relieving one bottleneck in favor of creating another.

    I am ready to pay - as a driver, a bicyclist, and a transit- user, but I hope that I will be investing in more than a short-term job boost.

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  • matt picio November 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Rob (#9) - Some kids' bikes would be affected by that definition, unless otherwise exempted - lots of kids' bikes have 16" and 20" wheels.

    canuck (#11) - How about one-upping British Columbia? Make all sales of bikes and bike accessories and all bike repair services tax-deductible for the purchasing individual from their individual federal and state income tax returns. The law could have a 10-year sunset period and would serve to motivate the further use of bicycles and development of the appropriate infrastructure. This would allow us to reduce our dependence on oil, reduce our carbon emissions, and reduce congestion - all while stimulating the economy, especially custom frame builders and local shops, who tend to have higher costs and higher prices.

    We need MORE incentives for biking, not fewer - I agree with previous commentors that a bike tax would be a disincentive.

    Matthew (#17) - A state-issued ID is a state-issued ID. For identification purposes, a driver's license confers no additional benefits. Neither does a passport within the US. (note: currently - the Real ID Act of 2005 potentially changes this, but state compliance with the act is not mandatory until Dec 31, 2009)

    ambrown (#20) - not for much longer. Gas prices will be up again shortly. OPEC has reduced production, refining is shifting to heating oil for the winter season (and producing less gasoline), and the refineries will shift their production to favor whichever products will maximize their profits and minimize their operating costs. Since oil is tending to be "heavier" (the "light, sweet" oil production has been in decline for at least 5 years), it's cheaper to produce heating oil, asphalt, and rubber than gasoline, kerosene, and distillate fuel (diesel).

    TS (#22) - agreed on the need to generate revenue, but the state and the nation need to be penalizing the modes with the most deletorious impact, and subsidizing the modes which promote reduced road wear, reduced emissions, reduced infrastructure cost, and reduced danger of collisions.

    Is it fair to motorists? Absolutely not, but really is the current system fair to any other mode than motorists? No, it's not, and that unfair situation has been going on with federal and state subsidies for 40+ years. There needs to be some redress, just as their has been with every other social justice issue in the last century.

    Brad (#28) - I'll acknowledge your point, but I think you're being a bit naive if you believe that even a $40 tax is going to silence the critics. They're still going to claim "cyclists don't pay their fair share" and in the meantime, there will be fewer bike sales because of the cost increase. Most of the bikes sold in the US are low-end bikes costing less than $500. Most new cyclists don't recognize the value of the higher-end bikes until they become regular riders.

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  • BURR November 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    so basically the whole idea of a bicycle excise tax is about throwing a bone to the motorists who constantly complain that cyclists don't pay their fair share - even though they are wrong. As if it will actually make them shut up and go away.

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  • Jasun Wurster November 11, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    This is how the new I-5 bridge is gonna get built and how we are gonna pay for it.

    When I say we I mean the ones that pay gas tax in the extra cost of goods that are shipped in and we buy every day. I don't mind paying a bicycle tax, except that I am getting doubly taxed. First the increase of the price to ship the components here then a extra tax on top of the increased price because it is a bicycle. For what? A bridge that I and most Oregon residents will not even cross. Also, that bike tax money could just as easily go to bike improvements on or around the new I-5 bridge.

    As for the gas tax. This is a regressive tax that will target people who can not afford a new $30,000 hybrid car. Most of the automobiles that people can afford to buy are those massive SUV's that were all the vogue a few years ago. An increase in gas tax directly affects all of us, just because we do not buy gas directly from a gas station.

    Then there is that creating jobs argument. Yea, it will create short term construction jobs in the Portland\Vancouver metro area. Cool, the rest of the state is not only paying for this bridge but it is also not getting the benefit of the jobs. I say that the money should be used to fund 300 $2 million projects (may they be affordable housing/education/alternate transportation/economic development) around the state so that everyone's local economies are helped.

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  • red hippie November 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    A couple of points.

    1. Oregon residents don't pay sales in washington, except on services.

    2. Road development is is a hugh money drain. Think about how much money goes just for planning and EIS's. For example, how much haas been spent on the Sellwood bridge so far without any tangible work.

    3. On state contracts, the contractor's are required to pay union scale for wages. This is the only way that Union shops can compete with other companies. So in short, this package is also a big pay off for the states unions. Political payback for the Millions spent in oregon in the last 6 months.

    4. By discouraging cycling, you necessitate the road package. If people ride their bikes, this takes cars and their wear and tax revenue off the streets, thus the excise tax. Same logic with implementing the on-board gps and taxing by the mile rather than the gallon.

    So final analysis, Ted is not interested in promoting alternative transport, rather just putting more money into the same old system.

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  • Joe November 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    This package is a bit disappointing.. Washington raised their gas tax a nickle and then 10 more cents, gradually implemented over several years. For being the first state to implement a gas tax at all, it's pathetic that our state refuses to keep taxes up with the costs of roads and other transportation infrastructure. We need a much more aggressive gas first of all. Paved roads are good for all road users - drivers, bicyclists, and deliveries for businesses.

    I'm also concerned about the bike excise fee.. I don't think we're at the point where we should make it more difficult for people to afford bicycles. One has to also question the cost effectiveness of this. How much does the collection of this fee cost? Seems like it would have to be relatively high.

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  • 007 November 11, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    And $15M for the Columbia River Crossing. Thanks Governor, for spending my tax dollars on increased air and noise pollution. Progressive Oregon indeed.

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  • Walt Crippen March 8, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Are you kidding me? The majority of Oregonians live in rural areas & are dependent on gas powered vehicles just to get to work, school, etc, & we already pay 10 cents above the national average for gas now (I know because I travel cross country for my work). So to impose more tax on fuel seems to me to be an attemp to further cripple the residents of our state. And to increase license & titling fees is equally ridiculous. In an economy that was in recession years before the rest of the country, the last thing we need in Oregon is a way to make day-to-day life here harder & more expensive. The Bike Tax? Whats next? Tha walking tax? Those that are fortunate enough to live in municipalities or communities that make non-motorized transport viable should pay because they are being economical or enviromentally concious? Thats the message I'm getting. The Capitol should be working on ways to get jobs & industry here instead of taxing to death the people that live here

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  • Carol Bennett May 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    You guys crack me up! Your governor sounds almost as foolish as Arnold. He's trying to terminate CA. and Kulongoski is out to ruin OR. You may say what intrest do you have in our state? Well, my husband and I have owned property there (and we pay our taxes) for 20 years. Think! If you raise the car registration so much, you will then have what CA. is going to have soon. A bunch of uninsured motorists, because not only did you raise that tax, but also the gas tax, (and what is more important than driving..certinatly not insurance!) and then let's compound that by taxing all the big business in the area so they close and leave the state. Then poor, unemployed, uninsured Oregonians, will be left unalbe to pay the high price of over taxed gas so they decide to buy a bike and guess what???? More Taxes. Where do these politicans come from?

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  • oliver May 8, 2009 at 10:59 am

    lol...and taxes will still be lower than they were when Reagan was in office, and working people will still pay a far greater portion of their shrinking wages than those in the higher tax brackets.

    So nothing will have changed, what again is your complaint?

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  • Carol Bennett May 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I guess my point is more a concern for the workers there that will be affected by all these taxes and regulations that are being instituted. Agreeing with Walt C in his statement (43) that many Oregonians live in rural areas. My son does and has to drive 20 miles to and from work. That gas tax alone isn't bad, but compound that with everything else. Title and Registration fees, and a bicycle tax. (By the way, that would not intice me toget green and get one)! Unlike CA, Oregon doesn't have a state tax, but the way it looks, it won't be a long time coming. CA does, and it still isn't enough to pay for all the crap they keep coming up with to spend money on! This year, it will cost my husband and I around $2,100 to register vehicals (2 motorcycles, 1 car, 1 truck). That compounded by an increase in gas taxes, sales tax, property tax....get the picture. You give the polititions and inch. Oh, I didn't pay taxes in when Regan was in office. lol

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  • Audrey May 8, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I made my comments to this website; but I will paraphrase.

    http://us.mc461.mail.yahoo.com/mc/showMessage?pSize=25&sMid=3&fid=Inbox&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&filterBy=&.rand=1721531657&midIndex=3&mid=1_2203_AHzHtEQAAULeSgQJ%2BA3Ful4Ky0E

    I am great with biking and I know as a car driver, I need to help pay for the roads I travel on ... SO SHOULD YOU, BICYCLISTS! Bikers need to register your bikes with the DMV to maintain the roads where you ride and for all the new paint on the roadways to accomodate the bikers safety.
    I know that this is is not the popular biker viewpoint, but just take some time to think about it. If everyone stopped driving and started biking, who would maintain the roads and bridges?

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