- The Zweig Group's Insider's Guide to the State DOT Market for AEC Firms 2018-2021 has identified Oregon as the "hottest" market for road and bridge work. The publication offers those in the industry data about states with the most opportunities for infrastructure construction, design and engineering firms.
- Oregon made the top of Zweig's list with some help from state lawmakers' 10-year, $5.3 billion transportation bill, which will raise gas taxes and automobile registration fees statewide and create a new car and bicycle sales tax in Portland, as well as tolls. The state is also using more contractors to execute the Keep Oregon Moving program, shifting from about 30% outsourced work to 70%. Other states expected to spend big money on roads and bridges during the next three years are Washington, Colorado, Texas and Florida.
- Because of a weakening in or uncertainty around spending, Midwestern states such as Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, North Dakota and Wisconsin are not expected to provide contractors with many opportunities for road and bridge work through 2021. The guide covers the federal, state and local infrastructure markets and provides state DOT contacts, as well as information about funding and project delivery trends.
Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report, using data from McKinsey & Co., also put Oregon at the top its state infrastructure ranking. U.S. News looked at the categories of energy, transportation and internet access and placed Oregon first after considering a variety of factors like bridge integrity, public transportation utilization, road quality, renewable energy, power reliability and cost and broadband download speed.
Oregon is also exploring new ways to collect taxes from vehicles that don't use much gas, like electric or hybrid cars. In July of 2015, the state kicked off a pilot program called OReGO in which volunteers pay a 1.7-cent per-mile road usage fee and receive credits for any fuel taxes they pay at the pump.
The Washington State Transportation Commission also started a similar volunteer program, except that the state uses a mock 2.4 cents per mile charge. Participants in the program commit to reporting their mileage, which takes about 10 minutes per month, and, in return, receive gift cards. Washington has four ways volunteers can report their mileage: using a pre-selected block of miles via a mileage permit; odometer readings done in person or electronically; an automated mileage meter with GPS and non-GPS capabilities or reporting via a smartphone app.