Posted on May 27th, 2021 at 6:57 am.
Like dreaded vegetables on a dinner plate, the powerful Joint Transportation Committee of the Oregon legislature has left the hardest stuff to swallow until the very end. At their last meeting of the session Thursday morning, committee members are likely to vote on consequential legislation that would set funding levels for three freeway projects and a plan to allow the state to borrow up to $600 million in tolling-backed bonds.
Months of debate have focused on two bills in the House: 3055 and 3065. Both are omnibus bills (meaning they deal with many issues) and look to tweak House Bill 2017, the landmark $5.2 billion package of project earmarks and new taxes the legislature passed in 2017. Among other things, HB 2017 set aside $30 million per year for the I-5 Rose Quarter project (to begin January 2022) and it directed the Oregon Transportation Commission (the governor-appointed body that manages the Oregon Department of Transportation) to study and implement tolls on sections of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland region.[Read more…]