Oregon’s Highest Operating Tax in the U.S. is being accompanied by an Increasing Weight-Mile Tax
Transportation package for $5.3 billion heads to governor
The $5.3 billion transportation bill has passed the Oregon House and Senate and is heading to Kate Brown to be signed.
The 10-year plan includes hikes in the gas tax from the current 30 cents a gallon to 34 cents the first of next year and by two additional cents in each of the succeeding three bienniums for a total of 10 cents by January 2024, registration and title fees and new taxes on payroll, new vehicle purchases and more.
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 like widening northbound Interstate 205 from Powell Boulevard to Interstate 84, and adding new lanes to Interstate 5 through Portland’s Rose Quarter.
But the biggest affect for trucking companies comes in the form of the weight-mile tax. Interstate motor carriers know that in lieu of a tax on diesel fuel, Oregon levies what is already by far the highest operating tax in the U.S., the Oregon weight-mile tax, currently 16.38 cents a mile for a truck at 80,000 pounds. The bill takes that tax to 20.48 cents a mile come January 1 next year, and eventually to 25.12 cents January 1, 2024.
For purposes of comparison, if that 80,000-pound truck gets 7.0 miles per gallon, that 20.48 cents a mile is the equivalent of a diesel fuel tax at $1.43+ a gallon.
The bill also includes a payroll tax for transit at 0.1 percent, and a sales tax of 0.5 percent on vehicles weighing less than 26,000 pounds. On the other hand, the proposed Oregon gross receipts tax is dead – for now.