Washington County commissioners voted Tuesday to put a proposed $30-a-year vehicle registration fee on the ballot in November.
The decision followed a a two-hour public hearing in which 19 county citizens, mayors and business owners told the board about their concerns ranging from tire-eating potholes to corporate tax breaks for large companies such as Intel.
Money raised through the registration fee would be earmarked for road maintenance alone. Under the $30 annual fee per car, roads would be maintained. If the fee is bumped up to the $43 maximum allowed by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, bridges would also be maintained.
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle told the board that good roads were key to a thriving economy. It will cost five or 10 times as much if we wait to do the repairs. I fully support the ordinance. It will protect quality of life. We must be proactive in our efforts to move this forward and get this on the ballot, Doyle told the board.
State gas tax funds has declined as cars become more energy-efficient, draining funds for maintenance of local roads. Washington County's proposal was carried over from last year and is a political hot button. Portland's City Council has been under fire for its proposed street fee to pay for repairs.
County Commissioner Roy Rogers spoke up early in the session in favor of a public vote. Commissioner Bob Terry, one of three commissioners re-elected in May, also said his constituents want this to go to a public vote.