Weight-Distance Tax Expected to Survive in Oregon

April 14, 2000

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Supporters of a measure that would drop Oregon's cumbersome weight-distance tax in favor of a diesel tax and a 5-cent increase in gas taxes admitted defeat last week before the issue even came to a vote.

The campaign to pass Measure 82 announced plans to stop spending money after polls showed the measure has no chance of passing.
Ballots go out April 28 in the all-mail primary, with the voting deadline of May 16. The measure passed Oregon's Legislature last summer, but successful petition campaigns led by AAA meant it must go to a public vote instead of going in to effect last October as initially planned.
Supporters blame the recent increase in gas prices along with what they call an "outrageously misleading" campaign by the auto club.
Thursday, a judge dismissed a lawsuit that Measure 82 supporters filed against AAA that accused the group of lying in radio and TV ads and claiming that big trucking companies would get a windfall from the new tax structure. In throwing out the lawsuit, the judge said it was a matter of opinion, not irrefutable fact.
In its advertising, AAA cited two studies showing that motorists would pay $100 million more a year while big trucking companies would get a $50 million tax cut. Measure 82 supporters, which included the trucking industry, countered with statistics from another study that found heavy trucks would pay $67 million more than their fair share of road costs over six years.

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