Will Portland see a gas tax?

nfib-logoBy Oregon NFIB,

Voters in Portland could decide on a new 10-cent-a-gallon gas tax come May.

The proposal, expected to rake in $58 million over four years, is designed to raise money for roads and safety projects, according to The Oregonian.

If approved, the gas tax would be Oregon’s highest. Already, 16 cities or counties have gas taxes ranging from a penny to a nickel a gallon, the Oregonian reports.

Leading the push for the gas tax is City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees Portland’s transportation bureau. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales also announced his support, along with the majority of the five-person City Council. Voters will have the final say if the proposal gets on the May 17 ballot.

Portland roads have long been neglected, “with more than half now rated in poor or very poor condition,” according to The Oregonian.

Under the terms of the proposal, the 10-cent tax increase would apply to gasoline vehicles only. There are no proposals at this time to increase taxes on diesel or electric vehicles.

This gas-tax proposal comes after a low-carbon fuel standard was signed into law in March. The standard is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring distributors to cut down carbon emissions by 10 percent over the next 10 years.

The low-carbon fuel standard is expected to increase gasoline by 19 cents a gallon. With its passage, the general idea was that a state gas tax to pay for roads and bridges wouldn’t be brought up.

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