2017 Legislative Review - Transportation

Published Friday, July 7, 2017

Though some of the bills described in the Environment & Energy section of this report involved transportation issues, one effort overshadowed all others when it came to transportation legislation in the 2017 Legislature. After failing to pass a transportation bill in 2015 and creating the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization to seek citizen input and study possible solutions, leadership of both parties made it a priority to deliver comprehensive transportation package in 2017. They succeeded.

Bills Passed

HB 2017, Transportation Package
Prior to the Session, Legislators traveled the state meeting with communities that described various transportation needs from transit service to congestion relief. As Oregon's population grows, it became clear that we need a transportation system that can keep pace with the needs of Oregon's economy, workers and businesses. From transporting goods via roads, rail, and health and robust port system, to reducing commute times for families across our state it's critical that we make investments today. The business community made clear that transportation investment was critical this Session for the following reasons:

  • 1 in 5 Oregon jobs are dependent on transportation and nearly 350 million tons of product valued at over $300 billion are moved throughout Oregon each year.
  • A major investment in transportation like the one proposed by this committee could mean the addition of 8,300 local jobs.
  • We could generate $928 million in additional economic output through sales generated by local businesses through an improved transportation system.
  • Lost time is costing Oregon businesses. The cost of congestion in the Portland area is 11th nationally at $1.8 billion a year. 

After months of negotiation, the Legislature and Governor reached agreement around an eight-year transportation investment plan that will invest nearly $3 billion in our roads and bridges and hundreds of millions in transit, safe routes to schools, electric vehicles, and more. In addition, I-5, I-205, and Highway 217 will receive important investments to improve freight mobility and congestion relief.

More specifically, HB 2017 includes:

  • $0.10 gas tax increase over eight years.
  • Sliding scale for title and registration fees dependent on gas mileage. 
  • $15 bicycle excise tax on adult bicycles over $200.
  • One-tenth of one percent employee payroll tax for transit services statewide.
  • $12 million annually for the Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.
  • Directs ODOT to establish value pricing and congestion relief for I-5 and I-205.
  • Clean Fuels Program cost containment mechanisms.
  • 0.5% Dealer privilege tax for non-road investments.
  • Improved oversight and accountability measures for ODOT.
  • And more...

OBI worked with multiple stakeholders throughout the session in support of a transportation package. OBI supported.