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Oregon’s $8 billion transportation bill promises ‘congestion relief’ by doubling down on highways

Posted by on June 2nd, 2017 at 4:57 am

Policymakers Ride-21

Too much of one, not enough of the other.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The speculations are over and now the debates can begin.

On Wednesday night a bipartisan committee of state legislators released the first draft of the transportation funding package. The 298-page House Bill 2017 aims to raise $8.2 billion over the next 10 years from a combination of increases to existing taxes and fees, and a few new ones.

The bill tilts heavily toward major new investments in roads and highways that will make driving more convenient. Local bus services get a boost, while investment in light rail is explicitly prohibited. Biking and walking see an amount of dedicated investment that’s unprecedented compared to past packages; but is still embarrassingly small relative to other priorities.

The broad outlines of the bill are similar to what has been discussed during recent meetings of the 14-member Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee. But there are several noteworthy new details to discuss.

Here are my takeaways so far, in no particular order…

Powell Blvd could become a city-managed road

Protest on SE Powell-9.jpg

Frustrations with ODOT at a May 2015 rally on Powell Blvd.

HB 2017 would set into motion the transfer of Powell Boulevard (Highway 26) from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). This change in management (known as jurisdictional transfer) is something both agencies have wanted for a long time (this is just one of several urban highways they’ve discussed). The reason is simple: ODOT manages roads in a way that makes motor vehicle speeds and traffic volume the top priority — an approach PBOT is moving away from. While PBOT wants to tame auto traffic to improve human safety and livability outcomes, ODOT continues to act as a de-facto automobile advocacy group even though local plans aim to significantly decrease the appeal of driving in the next decade.

The barrier to these transfers has always been money. PBOT doesn’t want an ODOT road that has major maintenance needs. To remedy this, this bill (on page 167) sets aside $16.5 million for Region 1, with a portion of that (unknown) going to the City of Portland to make “Powell Boulevard improvements.” Then, to cement the deal, page 279 of the bill says ODOT and PBOT “shall enter into a memorandum of understanding to transfer jurisdiction of Southeast Powell Boulevard beginning where the highway intersects with Southeast 9th Avenue and ending where the highway intersects with Southeast 174th Avenue.”

Under PBOT’s control, the future of Powell — and the people who live and work on and around it — is much brighter.

Accountability at ODOT and the rise of the OTC

OTC meeting in Salem-3.jpg

Current OTC Chair Tammy Baney.

Several provisions in HB 2017 aim to increase transparency and create stronger oversight of ODOT. The bill gives more power (and an increased workload) to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC), a governor-appointed body charged with implementing the state’s transportation policies.

Language in the bill calls for the OTC to create a new website that lists major transportation projects along with details like its estimated cost and completion date, expected benefits and so on. Another section calls for ODOT to create written project proposals for the OTC that include expansive cost details including any environmental impacts and vehicle emissions. “The analysis required by this section,” reads the bill, “May include a discussion of… The value of any other social, economic or environmental benefits or costs of the project.”

The OTC will also have to figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by transportation. The bill mandates the adoption of an OTC-led strategy that will help Oregon reach its greenhouse gas emissions goals.

Further expanding the OTC’s authority, the bill would grant it the power to appoint the ODOT director (“after consultation with the governor”) and relieve that person of their duties if necessary.

Driving will get even more expensive

To help pay for new and improved roads and bridges, Oregonians will spend even more of their money for the privilege of owning and operating a motor vehicle if this bill passes. Here’s the breakdown:

  • A surcharge of $100 for electric vehicles and $15 for gas-guzzlers.
  • An three-cent increase to the gas tax (to 36 cents) starting in 2018. The tax will rise another six cents (to 42 cents) by 2025. (*This sentence was edited for clarity after publication.)
  • A tiered increase in title fees based on a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon rating. The amount will go up each biennium and vehicles with a lower mpg rating pay less than those that are more fuel efficien. Electric vehicles pay the most — over three times the amount of the most efficienct gas-guzzlers.Tolls and congestion pricing aren’t finalized in the bill, but lawmakers have created a framework where we could see them in the near future.
  • A “dealer privilege tax” of 0.75 percent (not to exceed $3,750) on new and used car purchases. 10 percent will go into the Connect Oregon Fund and 90 percent will go into a new Congestion Relief Fund with the stipulation that it can be spent only on highway construction and maintenance projects.


How transit fares

To improve and expand bus service, HB 2017 would raise new revenue from an employee payroll tax of one-tenth of one percent. A minimum wage worker would pay about $20 a year and the tax is estimated to raise about $100 million a year. The money cannot be used for light rail and must be spent on increasing bus frequency, purchasing new buses, subsidizing fares for low-income people, and expanding routes into rural areas.

Advocacy groups are hailing this part of the bill, calling it a “major investment in public transit.”

Biking’s share

Keep in mind that while we often parse the package into tidy modal silos, the truth is that “road and highway” projects often include elements that improve cycling conditions. That being said, the amount of money dedicated specifically to cycling infrastructure is important as a political barometer and because it provides planners with a target which encourages them to think big.

The package includes about $8 million per year specifically for multi-use paths and $10 million per year for the Safe Routes to School program. Here are the specifics:

  • The lottery-backed Connect Oregon program (that funds non-highway projects like air, marine, rail, port, and bike paths) will have a 7 percent set-aside for bicycling and walking projects. This is likely to equate to about $5 million. (Note: These projects used to compete for a much larger portion of the fund, so this isn’t new money.)
  • ODOT will administer a grant program for biking and walking projects using State Parks and Recreation Department funds to the tune of $4 million every two years.
  • About $1.2 million per year from a 3 percent tax on new bicycles (more on that below).
  • A $10 million matching grant program for Safe Routes to School projects. Projects must provide a local match of 40 percent and be within a quarter-mile of a school. Specific project-types can include those that, “Improve sidewalks; reduce vehicle speeds; improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings; create or improve bicycle lanes; or improve traffic diversion.”

The bike tax lives; but it should die

In a classic case of bad policy that makes good politics, lawmakers have proposed a 3 percent bike tax. The only good news here is that earlier proposals called for a tax of 5 percent. ODOT estimates this will raise about $1.2 million a year. It will be levied only on new bikes that cost $500 or more and or that have wheels of at least 26-inches in diameter. (Please note this correction: It’s an “or”, not an “and” in the bill. This means that the tax applies to all large-wheeled bikes, ​including department store bikes. And it applies to small-wheeled bikes (like folding bikes) over $500. Thank you Evan Manvel for pointing this out!)

The minimum price was done to soften the impact of the tax on lower-income people; but it will just push business toward large multi-national corporations and away from the mom-and-pop bike shops that fuel our local economies. The wheel size provision was done to exempt kids bikes from the tax; but it ignores the reality that many “kids bikes” have adult-sized tires.

This first draft of HB 2017 includes new details on how the bike tax will be implemented.

Bike sellers (legislatively defined as “a person engaged in whole or in part in the business of selling bicycles”) already hate this idea and now they will have even less reason to support it. Shops will be required to state the amount of the tax as a line-item on the customer’s receipt. Receipts and invoices pertaining to the tax must be kept for five years. Sellers will also be required to file a quarterly tax return with the Department of Revenue. If they fail to pay the proper amount of tax in the allotted time, the state will issue a warrant for collection and pursue the case, “in the same manner… and  the same force and effect as is prescribed with respect to warrants for  the collection of delinquent income taxes.” 

Revenue from the bike excise tax will go into a new fund at the Department of Revenue. After they pay for administration and enforcement of the tax, any money left over will be transferred to the Connect Oregon fund where it will be added to a grant program for “bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects.” 

How does Oregon spell congestion relief? W-I-D-E-R F-R-E-E-W-A-Y-S

In an attempt to quell fears that Oregon is sliding into a traffic abyss, lawmakers put the vast majority of their time and effort into trying to “fix” congestion. Science and history tells us widening freeways and building new ones isn’t the best way to do this, but our legislature wants to give it another try.

HB 2017 would turn Oregon’s metropolitan planning organizations into “Congestion Relief Districts”. In the Portland region, the bill uses Metro’s current boundary to create the Metro Congestion Relief District.

These new districts would act as funding and policymaking mechanisms and would be governed by the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization. With that power, the bill states that the committee has the power to approve and fund specific projects in the Portland metro region:

  • $338 million to widen I-5 at the Rose Quarter.
  • $152 million to build a wider I-205 Abernethy Bridge.
  • $188 million to widen I-205 between Oregon City and Stafford Road.
  • $99 million to widen Highway 217.

The bill includes a special set of new taxes and fees to pay for these projects. For two years beginning on January 2019, the legislature would impose a 3 cent gas tax increase and a $5 vehicle registration fee within the Metro Congestion Relief District boundary.

A nod to tolling and congestion pricing

HB 2017 calls for the creation of a “traffic congestion relief program” within the OTC. This new program will provide the framework for Oregon to begin to use tolling and “value pricing” (aka congestion pricing) as a way to discourage auto use. The bill calls on the OTC to implement value pricing on two specific locations: I-205 and I-5 from Washington to where they intersect in Oregon (south of the Portland metro area).

Once a tolling and pricing system is set up, HB 2017 has already earmarked over $40 million in highway projects to spend it on.

Closer scrutiny of mega-projects

I didn’t expect to see the phrase “mega transportation projects” in a bill; but HB 2017 is full of surprises. The bill proposes to establish a new legislative task force that would take a closer look at any transportation project with a pricetag of $500 million or more.

This is the legislature’s attempt to avoid embarrassing boondoggles and cost overruns on major projects. The bill says the task force is needed for projects, “that attract a high level of public attention or political interest because of substantial direct and indirect impacts on the community or environment or that re- quire a high level of attention to manage the project successfully.”

And a pinch of salt

Tucked into the end of the bill is a provision that would require the salting of roads throughout Oregon. In the past our state hasn’t used salt during snow and ice storms because of environmental and maintenance conerns. However, the drubbing we took this past winter appears to have lawmakers erring on the side of traffic over trout.

As written, the bill would require ODOT to salt their roads if at least two inches of snow falls within a 12-hour period. The law would also require large cities (over 160,000 population) to use salt under the same circumstances.

There’s a lot to absorb here and I’ll share more of my opinions and analysis in the coming days and weeks. Overall, bill is extremely disappointing. In a craven attempt to cross infrastructure spending off their political wish list, Oregon lawmakers are going down the wrong road.

Public hearings on the bill are set for Tuesday June 6th and Wednesday June 7th. The Committee will discuss the bill (without public testimony) on Monday June 5th. All meetings will be streamed online. You can also email your comments to

Here are some other views on the bill:

— The Street Trust (via the Oregon Environmental Council): Transportation Bill Includes Some Potential Wins for Bicycling, Walking, Transit, and Safe Routes

— Portland Tribune: Legislators make transportation package an all-or-nothing deal

— The Oregonian: Lawmakers air massive road-fixing bill amid rising tensions

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Josh G June 2, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Could a bike shop avoid the tax by selling a frame and a complete parts group separately?

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 2, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Sure, but that costs a lot more.

      I doubt shops could get away with essentially parting out a bike they buy on paper, selling those, and assembling it. Sounds like something that would fall afoul of agreements with manufacturers as well as the law.

      Putting the $500 and wheelsize minimums was a bad idea. Cheap bikes would already have a very low tax, and by failing to take these small amounts guarantees that only a tiny amount of revenue which can only benefit a few areas of the state. Meanwhile, there many expensive bikes (such as my recumbent trike) have smaller wheels that would be excluded.

      Interestingly enough, the practical effect of this tax is that it will be paid overwhelmingly by road cyclists, few of whom would want to ride on dedicated bike facilities, and a high percentage of which know how to get the bike they want without paying the tax. At least the WA bike shops will benefit from this…

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      • BradWagon June 2, 2017 at 9:56 am

        Agree, although I would gladly buy a complete bike from a shop if they sold decent components on it…

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      • Stephen Keller June 2, 2017 at 11:48 am

        I’ve been corresponding with my representative about how this tax unfairly targets local businesses. I would encourage all readers on this site who live in Oregon do express your concerns to your representatives. The more people our representatives hear from the more powerfully the message will be received. I mentioned that web queries to Walmart, Dicks and IKEA websites showed that there were no bikes listed as actually available in stores for more the $500 price point, even though one could order more expensive bikes from both. This seemed to resonate with one staffer who relayed my concerns to his boss. I’m only one voice. I fully expect this transportation plan will succeed unless a lot of folks speak up now.

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    • Dan A June 2, 2017 at 11:17 am

      I’d rather buy a new bike without the wheels. Can easily get a better set of wheels (handbuilt in Portland, even!) than what you get stock on new bikes. And much easier to install!

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    • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      How about getting manufacturers to offer an “Oregon Bike”, a $2,500 SpecializedTrek with all the usual components, but with disc brakes and 24″ wheels?

      I view the 26″ wheel minimum as “The Oregon Bike Friday Exemption”.

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  • 9watts June 2, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Thanks, Jonathan.

    “A per-gallon gas tax increase that will be 36 cents starting in 2018 and will rise to 42 cents in 2025”

    Wow. I find that part one of the few tiny silver linings, and can’t suppress a smile, having predicted that the supposed impossibility of raising the gas tax was just smoke and mirrors and should be tested in the real world. Although I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of how these things get negotiated, I think the examples from around the world where gas taxes are substantially higher than here and the fiscal health of transportation infrastructure in those other places is demonstrably better would eventually be impossible to deny or ignore.

    As for the rest, well, yeah. Climate Change is a hoax, right?

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    • BradWagon June 2, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Gas should be ~$15 / gallon. Increases still in the unit of “cents” are pointless in the big picture.

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      • Someone June 2, 2017 at 10:46 am

        Some people still have to commute a lot of miles to work. Think of all the construction workers that have to travel from project to project. Glad you have your bike, but someone still has to build the roads, storage, and buildings needed for the supply chain for your bike

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        • Spiffy June 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

          and those people, and their companies, are willing to pay for the needed things to do their business… the roads will be clearer if only businesses and the very rich are driving… and more money for us to help with the increased costs of those goods…

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        • BradWagon June 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm

          Those people need to consider moving closer to work or using alternate transportation if fuel expense is too high.

          Business expenses for construction can be passed on to buyers. AKA: people wanting a big house in the country pay more for the associated expenses of it, which brings us back to the above. Bike Supply chain business dealing with higher operational costs can pass cost on to buyers… if gas is priced accurately the minor increase in the price of a bike will still be cheaper than driving.

          The fact is that the planet has been subsidizing human energy expense at an unsustainable rate. There is no solution that does not involve drastic changes to society. Generations have built a system that future generations will now sacrifice to correct. Even with renewable energy, the process of transition is going to be much more painful than most seem to think. The future of humanity overshadows someone struggling financially due to a long commute… sorry.

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          • HJ June 2, 2017 at 4:57 pm

            Nice thought and all but not realistic considering the current state of affairs. I’m perfectly capable of riding to work. I live close enough, am more than fit enough, and have all the needed gear. My problem is my commute requires riding/driving Cornell Rd. With no bike lane, increasingly distracted and hostile drivers, and a dramatic increase in traffic volume I no longer feel safe riding it at certain times of day. Which tends to remove riding to work as an option. Add to that the fact that the county has decided to neglect what bike lanes we do have (they’re completely worn off in Cedar Mill) and your “consider moving closer” becomes a load of BS. BTW this is ignoring the fact that once I get to work I don’t have anywhere secure to put my gear while I do my job.
            Oh, and alternate transportation? The nearest bus stop is 1.5 miles away. Without sidewalks or bike lanes. On a 45mph road. Perhaps instead of blaming those of us just trying to eke by you could try a constructive approach that involves removing the barriers to alternative options? Y’know like working to get more bus routes, bike lanes, and sidewalks.

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            • Dan A June 2, 2017 at 8:16 pm

              What commute requires you to use Cornell? Mine would be shorter if I used Cornell, but I go another way for safety reasons.

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            • BradWagon June 5, 2017 at 10:44 am

              All for that stuff, but until society at large demands the improvements your asking for we unfortunately won’t get them. My second comment was more directly towards the general function of human society.. not a practical criticism of individual habits.

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    • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      The rise is to 36 cents, from the current 33 cents, so it actually a 3 cent rise, is my understanding, with an extra cent per year until 2025. It’s really not that much.

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      • 9watts June 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm

        I was afraid of that. Isn’t Jonathan’s sentence incorrect then?

        “A per-gallon gas tax increase that will be 36 cents starting in 2018 and will rise to 42 cents in 2025.”

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        • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm

          His original sentence was accurate enough, but too easy to misinterpret. His new edit helps a lot.

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      • 9watts June 2, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        “A three cent per-gallon gas tax increase that will thereby increase to a total of 36 cents starting in 2018 ris[ing] to 42 cents in 2025.”

        Looks like that would hardly be keeping up with inflation.

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  • 9watts June 2, 2017 at 6:03 am

    The Street Trust’s take:
    “Being the broad compromise that it is, the bill currently holds a lot to be excited about, while also containing some causes for concern.”

    I’m all for looking for silver linings, but, really?

    I appreciate Glowboy’s recent point about this –

    […] Caving in now (even while passive-aggressively stating opposition under your breath) is very lousy negotiating strategy. I expect horse-trading, and compromises, and the final outcome not including everything we want. But you always start by asking for everything you want, if not more. Otherwise you lose the game.
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    I’ll happily give up on the gas tax (fond though I am of it) if this bill dies; the balance is so unbelievably out of touch with the moment we find ourselves in that it makes you wonder who these clowns are.

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    • rachel b June 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      “Yet the Earth scientists continue to haunt us, following us around like wailing apparitions while we hurry on with our lives, turning around occasionally with irritation to hold up the crucifix of Progress.”

      Great article. Thanks for the link, 9watts.

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  • Phillip porter June 2, 2017 at 6:10 am

    It will be amusing to watch those wider freeways immediately fill to capacity and hear the car drivers continue to complain about congestion. Ditto on the gas tax. Higher fuel costs are one of the only things that can decrease automobile use in this country.

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    • rachel b June 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Sickly amusing. 🙁

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    • wsbob June 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      “It will be amusing to watch those wider freeways immediately fill to capacity and hear the car drivers continue to complain about congestion. Ditto on the gas tax. Higher fuel costs are one of the only things that can decrease automobile use in this country.” phil porter

      The proposed freeway projects won’t do much to increase capacity. They’ll just help traffic flow a little better for awhile, resulting in a little faster travel during commute hours. Higher fuel costs will just make life rougher for people having the lowest income levels. People with good jobs will find the money to pay for whatever the cost of gas is made to be.

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      • 9watts June 6, 2017 at 11:12 am

        “Higher fuel costs will just make life rougher for people having the lowest income levels. People with good jobs will find the money to pay for whatever the cost of gas is made to be.”

        I’ve posted this table here half a dozen times. It is still so good. And dispels your tired retort. If you disagree with it perhaps you could deign to address this rather than continuing to insist on your own pet theory.

        “There is a counterintuitive relationship between gas prices and the burden they place on the average citizen’s finances: The more gas costs, the less gas people buy, and so the less they are weighed down by gas costs. Just look at this chart [link below] courtesy of Bloomberg, which shows that the U.S. has the world’s 50th highest gasoline prices, $3.66 per gallon in September, but the fifth highest proportion of annual income spent on gas purchases. Those rankings are almost exactly reversed in European countries with high gas taxes. The Netherlands has the world’s third highest gas price, $8.89 per gallon, but the 34th highest proportion of income spent on gasoline. Italy ranks fourth highest in gas prices, $8.61 per gallon, and 38th in proportional spending on gas. Gas taxes in Italy and the Netherlands, like most of Europe, are about 10 times higher than those in the U.S. Furthermore, in a country such as Norway, where gas currently costs $10.08 per gallon, that revenue comes back to the public in the form of government programs, such as free college tuition. Lower gas consumption also means better local air quality and reduced greenhouse emissions, and more exercise and less obesity among the populace.”

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    • El Biciclero June 7, 2017 at 9:43 am

      “Higher fuel costs are one of the only things that can decrease automobile use in this country.”

      I’d bet congestion would do it too, but we obviously don’t have very bad congestion, or people would be switching to other modes already.

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      • PeaDub
        PeaDub June 10, 2017 at 4:11 pm

        I don’t think so. Look at the Bay Area, or LA. People tolerate unbelievable commute times and still insist on driving single-occupancy vehicles everywhere they go.

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        • Joe Wolf June 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm

          That behavior – these days, anyway – has as much to do with middle- and working-class CA folks who didn’t luck out in the inheritance/Prop. 13 lottery having to live in BFE Lancaster, Palmdale, and Victorville (Los Angeles) and Stockton (Bay Area) to afford a home on their LA and SF blue/pink/gray-collar salaries.

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  • Chris I June 2, 2017 at 6:56 am

    So a .75% tax on new cars, with a flat upper limit, and a 3% tax on bicycles with no upper limit? How is that fair?

    Hundreds of millions in proposed spending, and we don’t get MAX to Vancouver, funding for the SW Corridor, or MAX on Powell. Very shortsighted.

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

      This means nice bikes pay more tax in absolute terms than less expensive cars. A $5K bike has the same tax as a $20K car

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      • Chris I June 2, 2017 at 9:34 am

        So a mom that wants to buy a box cargo bike to transport her kids to school on the way to work would pay more than someone who buys a Ford Focus to drive alone to work every day. This is great tax policy…

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 2, 2017 at 9:41 am


          Given that the taxes are significant for a well equipped cargo bike, this may inspire some dual 20″ designs.

          Note that this tax hits electric bikes especially hard. Anyone buying electric assist should add it after the fact as the tax on the drive mechanism and battery alone is significant.

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          • Jason June 2, 2017 at 10:17 am

            Maybe there will be a new wave of “Oregon wheels” of bikes designed around 25.5″ tires…

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            • Dan A June 2, 2017 at 11:21 am

              Oh good, another ‘standard’. 🙂

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            • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm

              Actually, a 26″ rim is 559mm, which is barely over 22″. When I put on a 1.5″ Schwalbe, my wheel is still under 26″. It really boils down to folks continuing to use the same parts they always have, but getting manufacturers to label products more accurately. I do see this legislation as promoting an increase in the use of 559 wheels, and a decline of newer standards of 584, 590, and 622 rims for city/mountain bikes, as well as an expansion of 650b road bike production. Really, this 3% sales tax will be very easy for bike shops to evade legally just by changing the way they build up and sell bikes.

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          • Spiffy June 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

            a shop could maybe deduct the cost of the electric components from the taxable total since they’re not standard bicycle components… why should you have to pay more tax on a bike for all the accessories? a $499 bike with a $50 rack is not a $549 bike…

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 2, 2017 at 9:47 am

          The mom buying a cargo bike may have options. First of all, she shouldn’t buy racks, the box, or anything else that’s not an integral part of the bike.

          Secondly, many cargo rigs are custom so it’s not a package price like with bikes off the rack. If I were buying one, I’d buy the frameset, components, and wheels separately on different days and assemble it myself. If Mom didn’t want to assemble it herself for whatever reason, she could bring the stuff into any shop on a different day to have it done. The same shop might even be willing to do the assembly for free since some shops cut a labor break when you buy stuff from them.

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        • SE Rider June 2, 2017 at 10:06 am

          If you don’t considering the many other taxes and fees the Ford Focus owner will spend over the life of the car.

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          • Dan A June 2, 2017 at 11:21 am

            Boo hoo.

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          • Chris I June 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            For the damage they are doing to the roads. Gas taxes don’t even cover the damage that vehicles do, let alone the externalities (pollution, traffic violence, etc).

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            • SE Rider June 3, 2017 at 5:41 pm

              You didn’t mention anything about road damage just that the cargo bike mom would pay more than an auto mom. That is incorrect. If we want people to sway to our side we have to at least present the facts accurately.

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              • Dan A June 4, 2017 at 8:57 am

                It’s a fact that the cargo bike buyer would pay more at the time of purchase.

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        • rick June 2, 2017 at 6:07 pm


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    • paikiala June 2, 2017 at 9:48 am

      How about $100 on electric vehicles and $15 on gas guzzlers. That seems backwards.

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      • John Lascurettes June 2, 2017 at 11:25 am

        I believe this is for the offset of fully-electric cars never having to pay the gas tax. It makes sense and I’d be totally willing to pay it (I have no intention of every buying a combustion engine car again).

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      • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        The bill seems to have provisions to use tax that is already collected from your electric bill to pay for electric car infrastructure along the highways and in communities, as part of your highway system. The surcharge is intended to help to pay for part of that.

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        • Stephan June 2, 2017 at 3:13 pm

          If we factor in all costs of gas-powdered machines, then they should pay a surcharge far exceeding the $100 for electric cars. Moreover, that surcharge should depend on vehicle weight, which is exponentially related to pavement destruction.

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    • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Chris I: “Hundreds of millions in proposed spending, and we don’t get MAX to Vancouver, funding for the SW Corridor, or MAX on Powell. Very shortsighted.”

      When did MAX on Powell come up? As I recall, it was much cheaper BRT. Basically, the bill favors funding to low-income areas of Oregon cities, and the SW hills and Vancouver WA don’t qualify. The SW hills along Barbur needs light rail/MAX, I agree, but the area is higher-income, while Vancouver, the last I heard, is still technically in another state.

      With ODOT transferring Powell to PBOT from the east ramp of the Ross Island Bridge to the Gresham boundary, PBOT can now “value engineer” the $40-$50 million they already have (through MTIP, STIP, earmarks, and local SDC, plus part of new $16 mil in bill and additional bond money) for rebuilding outer Powell to city Vision Zero standards without having to deal with ODOT oversight and their inflated costs. The project called for in the 2012 vision might now be built along its entire 4-mile length, rather than just a mile of it.

      The bill also calls for increased bus service for poorer areas of Portland, especially Cully and East Portland. Not only are the transit provisions not short-sighted, but they even brilliant!

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      • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Also, by PBOT acquiring inner Powell, BRT can now be implemented without an ODOT veto as long as it doesn’t use 82nd (options to use 52nd and 92nd are still, I think, on the table, assuming they haven’t yet been tabled while someone was chairing a Powell-Division meeting, and not out tabling at an event).

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      • Chris I June 2, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        The BRT Powell project is DOA without dedicated lanes. Travel times were no better than the current state. Once you build dedicated lanes (which Powell has space for, east of 52nd, but would require an elevated transitway west of 52nd) you might as well build it with LRT, making a connection between the Orange Line at 12th/Clinton and the Green Line at I205/Powell. This would allow the green line to run on Powell into downtown, cutting about 10mins off the travel time, and relieving the highly congested section of the main MAX line between downtown (steel bridge being the worst bottleneck) and Gateway. A new line (Purple) would be created between Clackamas TC and the Gateway TC and eventually PDX. LRT has lower operating costs, faster travel times, and generally garners higher ridership.

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        • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 3:42 pm

          LRT has far higher capital costs than BRT. Also, as others have pointed out, this bill explicitly forbids new money for LRT, but implies that the transit money could go to BRT, since it involves “bus.” The difference in operating costs between the two is negligible, since both rely on human drivers, while LRT has greater long-term fixed costs, as the trackway and vehicle replacements costs are far higher. I do agree that LRT is far sexier and would likely get more ridership as a consequence.

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          • Chris I June 2, 2017 at 9:51 pm

            Check your operating cost figures again. LRT vehicles have 2-5x the capacity of even the largest buses, and have 2-4x the vehicle lifespan, resulting in lower operating costs. BRT has lower capital costs, but only if you can use existing road space. Powell is so congested that this is not a viable option. You need dedicated space, which is expensive with either option. It’s all about priorities. Do we want real, rapid transit, or buses with fewer stops that sit in traffic with everyone else?

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            • David Hampsten June 3, 2017 at 7:24 am

              My operating figures do not matter one iota – LRT is not being funded with this bill, for better or for worse, but BRT can be. I agree that both need dedicated lanes and fewer stops to be “rapid” (LRT downtown moves slower than a casual bicyclist). I have seen BRT units linked up like “trains” in other cities in Europe, reducing the need for more drivers. Depending upon the quality of units bought and the type of guidance system used, BRT can be as durable as LRT, but with far greater flexibility (LRT can’t leave it’s tracks). However, many US cities tend to try to cut costs and services by offering a cheap version of BRT that is little more than an express bus, including what was recently proposed for Division, and if that is what you are comparing to LRT, then I agree with what you have written.

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  • Curtis Ailes June 2, 2017 at 6:58 am

    The congestion pricing is nice, but how about that money gets funneled into alternatives that induce demand away from driving?

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  • rick June 2, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Induced demand for wider freeways. Washington County is quickly adding car lanes to make many intersections into less of a gathering place for the neighborhood.

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  • Fillard Spring-Rhyne June 2, 2017 at 8:30 am

    “To improve and expand bus service, HB 2017 would raise new revenue from an employee payroll tax of one-tenth of one percent. A minimum wage worker would pay about $20 a year and the tax is estimated to raise about $100 million a year.”

    Many BikePortland readers may not be aware that the phrase “payroll tax” is used in two very different ways.

    The first kind of payroll tax is paid by employers and is on top of the wages. See example below. This is how the existing TriMet/Lane Transit District payroll tax works.

    The second kind of payroll tax is really a personal income tax, like on form 1040. It’s called a payroll tax anyway (even by the IRS, I think) because the employers send in the money after deducting it from their employees’ wages. This is how the tax described above works; see section 122a of the bill amendment Jonathan links to. It’s a flat tax.

    (Highly simplified example: Suppose a business has 100 employees who earn $20,000 each and there’s a “payroll tax” of 0.1%. If it’s the first kind, the business sends in $2,000 of its own money. If it’s the section kind, the business deducts $20 from each of its employees’ wages and sends in the resulting $2,000. Self-employed people also pay these taxes, though the mechanisms are different.)

    Whether and how employers pass along the first kind of tax to employees and/or customers is the subject of fierce debate.

    Speaking for myself: The passing along that occurs with the existing TriMet/LTD tax is vastly preferable to this new flat personal income tax. I definitely support both of them — we desperately need to raise taxes — but I’m enthusiastic about the former (would love to see it quintupled) and grudging about the latter.

    Thanks very much Jonathan/BikePortland for this article and for all your reporting. Exceptionally useful.

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  • TheCat June 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

    $820 million per year, and we get $15 million / year designated for bicycles, and most of that requires complicated matching fund applications. That’s pretty lame.

    >vehicles with a lower mpg rating pay less than those that are more fuel efficien.

    Why are they rewarding gas guzzlers?

    p.s. efficien should be efficient.

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 2, 2017 at 9:48 am

      It not only rewards gas guzzlers, it rewards people who drive the most while soaking those who own a car but hardly drive at all.

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    • BarnOwl June 2, 2017 at 11:02 am

      I agree – it’s completely unacceptable that biking infrastructure represents only 1-2% of these funds. Where are our democrat representatives to fight for this? Whats the point of living in Oregon if this is what we get?? Don’t our taxpaying residents get a voice in this?

      On a side note, I can’t understand why the safe routes to school program is limited to the 0.25 mile surrounding schools, when bus service is provided only for students living >1 mile out. While it’s nice to have a safe route for the final 25% of my child’s trip, perhaps the radius should be expanded at least to 0.5 miles? For example, walks/rides to Buckman involve crossing several busy roads that remain unsafe for children (SE 20th, Belmont, Morrison, Burnside) especially when used on a daily basis, and parents would much more likely to bike with their kids if crossings were improved with on-demand signaling

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  • fourknees June 2, 2017 at 9:34 am

    So who will exactly be held accountable when the freeway expansions don’t help and all the money has been spent?

    Can the bill be amended so that if nothing changes by 202X for freeway congestion they MUST adopt a different plan? This plan highlighted in the Monday Roundup seemed interesting:

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  • BradWagon June 2, 2017 at 9:46 am

    “A surcharge of $100 for electric vehicles and $15 for gas-guzzlers.”


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    • SilkySlim June 2, 2017 at 10:27 am

      I think what they are going for is a way to account for road usage. If they did it just based on gas tax, electric vehicles would pay significantly less for their road usage. This is an attempt to balance that out.

      And yeah, it obviously misses the environmental “bit.” Which frankly doesn’t bother me much in this circumstance, since the goal is raise funds for transportation by those using the facilities.

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      • BradWagon June 2, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        Yeah that makes sense… just seems funny to see in writing and conceptually seems like one more thing that will push people away from electric vehicles once we all get used to the higher gas taxes.

        Why can’t we just tax people based on how much they drive again? sigh…

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    • Champs June 2, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Consider it an imperfect vehicle-mile tax. It can be implemented now, with limited additional overhead, and none of the capital cost or privacy concerns of true VMT via GPS tracking.

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      • 9watts June 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        Um, like those aren’t all imperfect?

        What was wrong with raising the gas tax again?

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 3, 2017 at 1:08 am

          Apparently, cyclists and the tiny EV market weren’t being sufficiently soaked…

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    • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      There was a lot in the bill about providing infrastructure for electric cars, from people homes, along highways, and to work and schools. Maybe legislators are thinking ahead?

      I found this on page 294:
      “(34) ‘Transportation electrification’ means:
      “(a) The use of electricity from external sources to provide power
      to all or part of a vehicle;
      “(b) Programs related to developing the use of electricity for the
      purpose described in paragraph (a) of this subsection; and
      “(c) Infrastructure investments related to developing the use of
      electricity for the purpose described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.

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  • bikeninja June 2, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Its Amazing that these people have no clue that the age of petroleum powered personal vehicles is almost over. People are fooled by cheap oil, but in reality the entire industry is melting down, with conventional wells in steep decline and tight oil more expensive to produce and worth much less because it yields fewer refinery products. At the current rate most of the U.S. tight oil industry will be bankrupt by 2020, and conventional oil flows will have declined the point that will force gas rationing.

    Expanding these roads will be like the Mayans adding to the height of the pyramids just before their civilization collapsed.

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    • 9watts June 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      hear, hear.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy June 5, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      We heard that 20 years ago, too.

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      • 9watts June 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        What exactly about the statement above are you disagreeing with?
        Do you have a working knowledge of petroleum economics?

        Most of the comment to which your sardonic reply points was in fact not heard 20 years ago because the fracking fiasco on which it is based came since then. Things (ups and downs, booms and busts) change rapidly in this sector but the underlying geological facts are all headed in the same direction they were 20 and 50 and 150 years ago.

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  • Buzz June 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

    The 100:15 ratio of surcharges for electric and standard gas vehicles is as ass-backwards as the bicycle excise tax.

    Electric vehicles, like bicycles, should not be penalized through taxation for being energy efficient, cost effective and low impact transportation choices.

    What we really need in place of these taxes on ‘green’ transportation options is a hefty tax on studded tires, which ODOT and everyone else knows are one of the primary causes of premature wear and aging of our roads.

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    • rick June 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Some electric cars weigh hundreds of pounds more than a hand-built Dodge Viper from Detroit.

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      • Dan A June 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

        The exception that proves the rule.

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    • PeaDub
      PeaDub June 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Especially since modern studless snow/ice tires are as good or better that studded tires in winter conditions (and far better in non-winter conditions). Studded tires should be taxed into oblivion.

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  • John Lascurettes June 2, 2017 at 11:15 am

    The wheel size provision was done to exempt kids bikes from the tax; but it ignores the reality that many “kids bikes” have adult-sized tires.

    Would this also mean that most folders (like a Brompton), would be exempt? 🙂

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    • Patrick Barber June 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      and cargo trikes with 20″ or 24″ wheels, said the christiania user.

      i know that most people reading or commenting here can work around this ridiculous shit, but none of this helps the average person who wants to buy a bike that almost inevitably will have 700c/622mm wheels.

      wow. so now we have some Zero Vision to go along with our Vision Zero.

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      • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm

        622mm = 24.5″ Couldn’t one buy a bike without tires? Or maybe super narrow ones to keep the 700c wheel under 26″? As far as I can see, it’s a labeling issue, not a wheel size issue. While local bike shops may or may not be hurt by this, depending how they and their suppliers handle this, the after-market bike tire dealers are gonna thrive in Oregon!

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm

          Not practical for 700c wheels. However, those rocking 650×23’s totally dodge the tax. Since the legislators obviously were concerned with protecting poor little me, this bike of mine would be exempt from the tax…

          Looking closely at the tax, only one of my 5 bikes would have been subject to it.

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          • SE Rider June 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

            Actually none of them would since you already own them and aren’t buying them new 😉

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            • Kyle Banerjee June 5, 2017 at 5:29 am

              I was thinking from the perspective of had the law been in place when I acquired them

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  • CaptainKarma June 2, 2017 at 11:35 am

    So if I read this correctly, bike chop-shops will now have to pay taxes quarterly, and will be required to keep records for five years or face the full wrath of the IRS…

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    • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      … but presumably not the Portland Police…

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  • Lumpy June 2, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Note to self: for the cost (+/- $600 million) of those four highway widening projects in Portland we could get FULL build out of the Portland Bike Plan. Sigh

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth June 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Our household has bought three bikes since moving to PDX in 2014 – one at a Bike Gallery Hollywood, one at Gladys Bikes and one at North Portland Bike Works. I don’t think that a 5% sales tax would have impacted where we bought any of those bikes, or a future bike. I am disinclined to buy bikes online or at a big box store as I am probably going to spend any money saved having it put together properly at a local bike store. I don’t think I’d go across the bridge to Washington either, but in all likelihood, if this tax passes, Washington will remove the sales tax exemption on bikes bought in WA by Oregon residents.

    Are the anti-sales taxes crowd likely to oppose this tax as the thin end of the wedge for broader sales taxes?

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  • Noel June 2, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Regarding Powell jurisdictional transfer: the full $16.5 million is NOT for Powell improvements only. That is one of 5 projects listed for Region 1, which will be receiving $16.5 million. Unclear how much each project gets but this is how the bill states that Region 1 funds will be distributed:

    City of Molalla for the State Highway 211 and State Highway 213 intersection
    ODOT for Cornelius Pass Road improvements
    City of Portland for Powell Boulevard improvements
    City of Cascade Locks for Wanapa Street
    Port of Hood River for the Port of Hood River bridge replacement environmental informational study

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  • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Snow plowing and salting during winter, Portland, Eugene, & Salem only (p 280):

    “SECTION 135. Sections 136 and 137 of this 2017 Act are added to and made a part of ORS chapter 366.
    “SECTION 136. (1) If at least two inches of snow accumulates on the ground within a 12-hour period, the Department of Transportation shall salt the highways and use snowplows in the areas affected by the adverse weather. The department shall continue to salt the highways and use snowplows on the affected highways until the department determines it is safe to drive on the highways.
    “(2) This section applies only to highways under the department’s jurisdiction as a road authority under ORS 810.010.
    “SECTION 137. (1) If at least two inches of snow accumulates on the ground within a 12-hour period, a city with a population of 160,000 or more shall salt the highways and use snowplows in the areas affected by the adverse weather. The city shall continue to salt the highways and use snowplows on the affected highways until the city determines it is safe to drive on the highways.
    “(2) Subsection (1) of this section applies to at least 25 percent of vital city highways within the boundaries of the affected city. If dangerous driving conditions last longer than 24 hours, the affected city shall salt at least 35 percent of vital city highways. For purposes of this section, each affected city shall determine which of its highways are vital city highways.

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    • Chris I June 2, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Wait, what? 2″ and the language “shall” means that Portland would be compelled to salt when it snows 2″? That seems insane. Most of our snow storms are gone by the next day. Salting would be silly.

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      • David Hampsten June 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        If 2″ snow accumulates where? At the PDX Airport weather station, or within the alcove of the Portlandia Building?

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  • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
    Michael Andersen (Contributor) June 2, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Seems like the big wins here are:
    – statewide payroll tax for bus transit (which IMO would be better as a tax on all income but that I think is basically awesome)
    – significantly higher gas tax, much of which would go to maintenance that we do actually need
    – $12 million a year for biking-walking stuff, mostly in Safe Routes matching grants … which would almost certainly also unlock more local investment by cities and counties

    Seems like the worst shit sandwiches are:
    – $380 million wasted at the Rose Quarter, i.e. half the cost of Portland’s entire 2030 bike plan, which will also function as a sunk cost that powers future requests for more money on this project
    – bike tax that might be revenue-negative and would definitely be a bureaucratic time suck for small shops
    – removing the governor’s power to hire and fire ODOT’s director at a time when voter sentiment has generally been shifting away from emphasis on the auto capacity that ODOT clearly worships

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    • wsbob June 4, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      “…– $380 million wasted at the Rose Quarter, i.e. half the cost of Portland’s entire 2030 bike plan, which will also function as a sunk cost that powers future requests for more money on this project …” andersen

      With the convention center there, and the sports stadium, Lloyd Center, and more and more housing in and near the Rose Quarter, this area is very economically dynamic for Portland. The argument for spending the money to reduce the traffic bottleneck is probably rather strong.

      With I-5 being right at the heart of the project and it being a key element of the motor vehicle associated congestion, there’s likely no way that light rail, BRT or bike and walking infrastructure could otherwise help to handle increasing congestion issues.

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      • 9watts June 4, 2017 at 4:42 pm

        “this area is very economically dynamic for Portland. ”

        There are no jobs on a dead planet.

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      • Dan A June 4, 2017 at 6:09 pm

        “With I-5 being right at the heart of the project and it being a key element of the motor vehicle associated congestion, there’s likely no way that light rail, BRT or bike and walking infrastructure could otherwise help to handle increasing congestion issues.”

        Agree to disagree.

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  • B. Carfree June 2, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    The last I read, this shit-sandwich of a bill is being held up by our polarized politics. The GOP won’t give the single vote needed to pass it unless the Dems put a cap on the “clean” fuels subsidy paid by the petroleum suppliers. As long as both hold firm, then this thing dies.

    I never thought I would be thankful for the lack of compromise that has become the norm in our political realm, but today I am. A bill that is nine parts awful to one part so-so is one that should not pass.

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  • rick June 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Why not subways ? BRT ? Seattle and LA have figured it out, lately. Stop building freeways !

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 2, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Tolls on I5 and 1205 . . . interesting possibilities.

    Congestion fees . . . ditto.

    Bike tax, mandatory road salting . . . lunacy.

    Higher fees on higher mph and electric cars . . . way to be green, Oregon.

    No use of these funds for light rail . . . I understand why this is here but I don’t like it.

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  • Peter W June 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    The fundamental problem with the way Oregon funds transportation is the notion that we must charge drivers a little more so that we can collect the funds to facilitate even more driving, rather than charging drivers a lot more to a) discourage driving and b) build out better alternatives.

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    • 9watts June 3, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      If that is what is going on here it is asinine.
      But why look to other countries who don’t have all these problems we do?!

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  • Dead Salmon June 3, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Quote from the article: “•A tiered increase in title fees based on a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon rating. The amount will go up each biennium and vehicles with a lower mpg rating pay less than those that are more fuel efficien.”

    I’m going to buy a gas hog to save money. Thanks to the geniuses in the legislature.

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  • Extremely Disappointing June 3, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    in the age of Trump, Oregon needs to get serious about climate change. This freeway bill is poop. Let’s gather signatures and put the poop on the ballot where it voters will surely flush it. Just threatening the referral will help bring the legislature and governor to their senses and the table.

    Some questions I have:
    What about freight taxes. I know there’s a weight mile tax, but will it go up? It seems like their paying nowhere near their fare share given the physics of the impact of heavly loads on road infrastructure. Non-truck roads/bridges could be built far less sturdy and smaller and last much longer.

    The payroll tax seems blatantly regressive. No graduation of rates. Taxing people living below poverty. Taxing pay but not investment income, etc.

    Is it true the governor won’t be able to remove the ODOT director. Will this create another Robert Moses with fascist freeway power?

    Thanks for covering this.

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  • younggods June 4, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    This bill sounds like something trump would come up with… reward people who drive gas guzzlers, tax bikes, no funding for light rail… sheesh.

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  • resopmok June 4, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Sometimes facing reality means banging your head against a brick wall first. Once you are blind, you will being to see.

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    • resopmok June 4, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      begin! awful typos.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 5, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Please note an important correction in the story regarding the bike tax. Reader Evan Manvel pointed out a mistake in my reporting. The bike tax language says it applies to bikes with wheels 26″ and over OR to bikes $500 and over. It’s an “or”, not an “and” in the bill language. This means that the tax applies to all large-wheeled bikes, ​including department store bikes. And it applies to small-wheeled bikes (like folding bikes) over $500.

    Thank you Evan for pointing this out!

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 5, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Arg. This means some of the feedback I sent the committee is inaccurate. I do think that if a bike tax is implemented, it should apply broadly. Cheap bikes will pay relatively little tax, and used bikes are a much better value anyway.

      I couldn’t help but notice a very interesting provision. According to the law, a bicycle for purposes of the tax is defined by which among other things is propelled exclusively by human power — a condition that clearly does not apply to electric bikes.

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      • Dan A June 5, 2017 at 10:15 am

        Wait ’til you see my upcoming project. I’m working on a tiny motor that attaches to the seat stays and spins a little rubber wheel against the rear rim, providing nearly imperceptible power. It won’t help you climb hills, but when this cheap little gizmo is installed on new bikes in the store it will make new bike shopping less taxing.

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        • Kyle Banerjee June 5, 2017 at 10:31 am

          There is an easier way to get around it. According to ORS 801.150, a bicycle “has a seat or saddle for use of the rider.”

          Just as decent bikes don’t include pedals because preferences vary so much, saddles are highly personal.

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          • Dan A June 5, 2017 at 1:59 pm

            No doubt, I’ve got a tub full of take-off saddles at my house. I guess that makes me a hoarder, since I will NEVER use them.

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          • David Hampsten June 6, 2017 at 2:08 am

            IORS 801.150 is written in such a way that all provisions must be satisfied:
            “Bicycle” means a vehicle that:
            (1) Is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels;
            (2) Has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;
            (3) Is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
            (4) Is propelled exclusively by human power; and
            (5) Has every wheel more than 14 inches in diameter or two tandem wheels either of which is more than 14 inches in diameter. [1983 c.338 §22]

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  • Joel June 7, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Where is the public hearing being held tonight (6/8)? What is the link to live stream?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 7, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Hi Joel,

      Here’s the latest info on the hearings tonight and tomorrow 6/8 straight from the horse’s mouth:

      …tonight is the second night of open-testimony public hearing on the bill – it is scheduled to begin at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room B. Signup sheets will be out front of HR F at 4:30 PM, one half hour before the hearing convenes.

      In addition, the Committee will hold a meeting on Thursday evening; this new Thursday meeting will NOT include public testimony, but instead will be a committee deliberation on possible amendments to include into the final bill. A start time has not been finalized for this Thursday meeting, but it will be either 5:00 PM or 5:30 PM, end time TBD.

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  • PeaDub
    PeaDub June 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    The proposed freeway projects won’t do much to increase capacity. They’ll just help traffic flow a little better for awhile, resulting in a little faster travel during commute hours.

    Actually it will just move the congestion around, because the problem isn’t just that the highways are over capacity, it’s that the entire metro area’s transportation infrastructure is over capacity. Having a fatter pipe feeding, for instance, 26 east-bound at 217 isn’t going to make 26 any less congested than it is today. So 217 will bunch up 2 miles from the interchange instead of 3. Yeah, that’s a good use of 8 billion dollars!

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  • 9watts July 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Not sure how many of you read the Salem Breakfast On Bikes blog, but here’s their take –

    Some of us are celebrating because the dastardly 3rd Bridge proposal seems to be going nowhere (after ten years and millions spent studying it).

    The EV subsidy/rebate of up to $2500 is helpfully contrasted with the $15 bike tax.

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