A bill that passed the Oregon legislature last week abolishing the weight-distance tax in favor of a diesel fuel tax would not require truckers to pay their fair share, say opponents - and they want to take the issue to the voters.

The Oregon/Idaho American Automobile Assn. plans to collect more than 44,000 signatures needed to put the new gas and diesel tax on the ballot for the November 2000 election. The group expects to collect twice the number of required signatures through the subscribers of the group's magazine.
Other opponents of the measure include Oregon Taxpayers United and 1000 Friends of Oregon, an environmental advocacy group against road construction. Oregon Taxpayers United has already said it will work to put the gas tax on the ballot. The environmental group hasn't decided yet if it will get involved.
Gov. John Kitzhaber is expected to sign the bill, which would phase in a 5-cents-a-gallon gas tax increase starting in November and raise vehicle registration fees in addition to ending the weight-mile tax for trucks and replacing it with a 29-cents-per-gallon diesel tax.
AAA leaders say that despite the new diesel tax and 11-fold increase in truck registration fees, dropping the weight-distance tax would mean that big trucks would not be paying their fair share.