OR Gov. Brown signs $5.3B infrastructure spending bill
UPDATE: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown this week signed a 10-year, $5.3 billion transportation spending bill, according to KATU. The majority of the funds will go toward improving transit in the Portland metro area.
- The Oregon State Legislature passed the bill, which will pay for repairs to the state's roads and bridges and fund new construction, earlier this summer, the Statesman-Journal reported.
- The measure will raise the money during a 10-year period by increasing the state gas tax and implementing a tax on vehicle and bicycle sales. The bill, according to KGW, will also create a new payroll tax that should bring in $103 million for alternative transportation projects in 2018.
- The funding package, which lawmakers whittled down from $8 billion, will also provide rebates for those buying zero-emission vehicles like electric cars.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association's (ARTBA) national bridge inventory report found that Oregon has 1,812 bridges in need of repair, and fixing all of them would cost approximately $3 billion. ARTBA said that of Oregon's total 8,118 bridges, 429 (5%) are structurally deficient, with one or more vital components in poor, or worse, condition. The overall U.S. had a total of 56,000 structurally deficient bridges, according to ARTBA.
In addition, the latest American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) infrastructure report card found that 11% of Oregon's roads are in poor condition and that there were almost 130 million unlinked passenger trips on the state's various forms of mass transit.
In nearby California, the ASCE said that approximately 50% of that state's roads were in poor condition, and the state itself has reported that it has $130 billion worth of infrastructure repairs waiting to be completed. As a result, California lawmakers recently passed a $52 billion spending bill earlier this year that will modernize and upgrade the state's transportation system with a hike in the gas tax, as well as additional motorist fees.
Indiana also committed to updating and maintaining its highway infrastructure system by enacting a seven-year, $5 billion program earlier this year. Like the initiatives in Oregon and California, Indiana's program will be funded by a gas-tax increase — 10 cents per gallon the first year and another 1 cent-per-year increase for seven years — in addition to other motorist fees.
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