State DOT News

More gas tax at the pump means a better, more accountable transportation system

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Gas Tax Increase begins January 1

December 3, 2019

For more information, contact Tom Fuller (Thomas.Fuller@odot.state.or.us), 503-986-3455 or 503-480-5143.

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The second of four planned increases in the gas tax goes into effect January 1, 2020. The increase is part of House Bill 2017, the “Keep Oregon Moving” legislation passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017.

Gas Tax Increase Schedule

  • $.04 - Jan. 1, 2018
  • $.02 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • $.02 – Jan. 1, 2022
  • $.02 – Jan. 1, 2024

$.10 Total

Accountability Measures

For the first time, Oregon lawmakers set requirements that ODOT and Oregon cities and counties must meet in order to trigger the increase. The Oregon Transportation Commission sent the Legislature a report outlining how ODOT and local governments have met those requirements on November 26, 2019. Two more 2 cent gas tax increases in 2022 and 2024 are also on deck—but only if ODOT meets additional accountability requirements.

Requirements met

I-205 Projects

The gas tax increase was tied to ODOT completing two specific projects to help address congestion on I-205.

  • I-205 Corridor Bottleneck ($15.5M). ODOT paved portions of I-205 and constructed new lanes between interchanges in the Sunnybrook and Johnson Creek areas to improve safety and reduce congestion.
  • I-205 Active Traffic Management ($15.2M). ODOT installed signage giving motorists real-time information about travel times.

Road & Bridge Condition Reports

ODOT worked with Oregon cities and counties to produce a website detailing the condition of the major roads and all Oregon bridges. The site grades the major roads in and through communities as good, fair, or poor so people can see what they’re getting for their increased taxes.

Project Reporting

ODOT also had to provide a list of shovel-ready projects that could be constructed with additional funds and report on the agency’s efforts to address congestion through a number of other important projects in the Portland metro region, including the (I-5 Rose Quarter project, new lanes on OR 217, widening of I-205 between Stafford Road and the Abernethy Bridge, and implementation of tolling.

How the money will be spent

Of the nearly sixty million dollars this increase will raise, 20% goes to Oregon counties, 30% to Oregon cities and 50% to ODOT. ODOT will use its share ($27.9M) of the funds for:

  • Highway maintenance ($1.7M)
  • Bridge projects ($11.2M)
  • Seismic projects ($8.4M)
  • Preservation and culvert projects ($6.7M)

“Accountability ensures that our state and local transportation agencies are spending taxpayer dollars wisely,” said Governor Brown. “In this report, Oregonians can see exactly how we are building a transportation system that supports economic development, reduces congestion and related vehicle emissions, and creates more sustainable, livable communities,” Brown said.

“The Commission is proud of the excellent work ODOT has done to date to implement the 2017 transportation legislation,” noted Oregon Transportation Commission Chairman, Robert Van Brocklin. “The additional funding that we will see beginning next January as a result of ODOT’s work will allow us to make important new investments, including projects to reduce Portland area traffic congestion.  It will also allow us to build new and preserve existing transportation investments in every region of the state.  We look forward to continuing the work we have been charged with undertaking to keep Oregon moving.”

This first increase would raise the Oregon gas tax from 34 to 36 cents a gallon. The federal tax is 18.4 cents a gallon.  Oregon’s counties and cities are allowed to add their own local gas tax as well. At full implementation in 2024, Oregon’s gas tax will be 40 cents a gallon, still less than the gas tax in either Washington or California.

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