The Oregon Senate passed the bill 22-to-7 Thursday, July 6, in the waning days of the 2017 legislative session.

PARIS ACHEN/CAPITAL BUREAU - Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, waits for colleagues on the Senate floor at the Oregon Capitol in Salem shortly before a vote on the transportation package Thursday, July 6, 2017. Beyer co-chaired a 14-member legislative committee that crafted the $5.3 billion package.SALEM — A $5.3 billion statewide transportation package is headed to Gov. Kate Brown for a signature after the Senate passed the bill 22-to-7 Thursday, July 6.

"This is a critical and most important piece of legislation. This is the piece of legislation is what the 2017 session will be known for 20, 30, 40 years from now," said Sen. Rod. Monroe, D-Portland, one of 14 lawmakers who crafted the plan.

The House of Representatives passed the bill 39-to-20 Wednesday, July 5.

Due to tax hikes and new taxes, the bill required a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber, according to the Oregon Constitution.

The 10-year plan includes hikes in the gas tax, registration and title fees and new taxes on payroll, new vehicle purchases and bicycles priced more than $200.

The package also calls for congestion-priced tolling at some of Portland's bottlenecks. The Oregon Transportation Commission is responsible for establishing the program, which could toll certain lanes on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 to pay for congestion-busting projects.

Among projects specified in the plan are congestion relief on Highway 217, widening northbound Interstate 205 from Powell Boulevard to Interstate 84 and initial investment in adding new lanes to Interstate 5 through Portland's Rose Quarter.

The plan also includes other projects around the state. Senators each received a summary Thursday, July 6, of what projects in their respective districts are included.

The plan hikes the state's existing 30-cent gas tax gradually over a seven-year period to a total of 40 cents. Registration fees would climb by $13 and title fees by $16 in 2018. Beginning in 2020, the state would move toward a tiered system of registration and title fees based on a vehicle's gas mileage.

The plan also levies a 0.5 percent tax on the purchase of new vehicles. About $12 million of the revenue from the proceeds of the vehicle excise tax would be used for rebates on the purchase of electric vehicles.

A $15 flat fee would be charged on the purchase of new adult bicycles with a price tag of more than $200. The proceeds of that would go toward paying for commuter bicycle and pedestrian paths.

Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
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