Opponents of a measure to drop Oregon's weight-distance tax and replace it with a diesel fuel tax say the change would mean trucks would not pay their fair share. But a legislative report has found the opposite.
The measure would raise the gas tax to 5 cents a gallon, to 29 cents, along with a new 29-cent diesel tax. In exchange, it would drop the cumbersome weight-distance tax.
In a report released last week, the Legislative Review Office estimated the change would raise about $150 million a year in added highway revenue. It said trucks in the most common weight class, 78,000 to 80,000 pounds, would pay $8 million more this year than their state-set benchmark for road wear costs. Overall, freight trucks would pay $67 million more by 2005 than their road cost share if the diesel tax is adopted.
The measure, passed in the last days of the Legislative session last summer, was supposed to go into effect Oct. 23. But opponents gathered enough signatures to keep the increase from taking effect, putting it on the May ballot.