The big news today is that Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski introduced a proposed new transportation package which would raise upwards of $500 million per year, over the next five years, for highways, bridges, county roads, local streets and transit projects. This is something that Oregon business groups, tired of congested roadways, have long been requesting. Each of the state’s three major dailies has coverage:
Much to the delight of nurseries, the package includes $600 million for relieving key freight bottlenecks in the state. Also positive is the possibility that the projects could include the use of nursery material to beautify roadways and mitigate project impacts. A final plus for nurseries is that it the package does not emphasize the gas tax as a revenue source, which would be hard on truck-dependent sectors. Funding for the package would come mainly from a 2 cents per gallon gas tax hike (not raised since 1993), a tripling of registration fees from $27 to $81, and a doubling of title fees from $55 to $110. There’s a jambalaya of other funding measures in there too, including a 2 1/2 cent tobacco tax hike to pay for senior transit programs.