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No to gas tax, say Sandy voters

Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax failing in partial, early returns

Sandy voters were saying no Tuesday to a city ballot measure that would mean a three cent bump in their local fuel tax July 1.

The measure was failing 470 votes (29 percent) to 1173 (71 percent) in partial, early returns.

Sandy City Council approved the measure in February, giving it to voters to decide if they wanted to pay more at the pump as a way to support road improvements. The measure increases the city tax from 2 to 5 cents for gasoline or diesel fuel sold within the city limits. Money from the increase would be used primarily to pay for construction or repairs of key roads in Sandy’s transportation system plan.

City officials said in February that that time was right for the tax increase, since the local economy was improving even as gas prices remain low. They also believed Sandy had a unique opportunity to benefit from the many out-of-town drivers passing through the city and using its gas stations to refuel.

The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates an average of 40,000 vehicles travel through Sandy each day. On weekends and during the peak ski and summer seasons, the numbers can go even higher.

Voters didn’t seem to agree.

It wasn't Sandy's first time voting on the issue. Sandy residents also voted on a gas tax in 2002, when they approved the creation of a local fuel tax of 1 cent per gallon. In 2009, the City Council approved an increase to 2 cents per gallon.