The American Trucking Associations has appealed a state circuit court decision upholding Oregon's weight-distance tax system.

The appeal is the latest chapter in a long-running battle to kill off what ATA says is the nation's oldest, steepest tax based on vehicle weight and miles traveled. ATA argues the Oregon system favors intrastate over interstate truckers.
The ATA argued that the state gives local truckers a break that unconstitutionally discriminates against interstate commerce. Local haulers of logs, wood chips, sand and gravel are allowed to pay a flat fee instead of the weight-mile tax the ATA is fighting to eliminate.
Marion County Circuit Judge Pro Tem Claudia Burton noted that the situation is not as simple as in-state carriers paying a flat tax and out-of-state carriers paying the weight-mile tax. She noted that 88 percent of Oregon carriers actually pay the weight-mile tax. And although trucking industry lawyers presented evidence during the trial that flat-fee haulers pay millions of dollar less per year than they would under the weight-mile tax, Burton noted that that's not true in all cases.
In 1999, the Oregon Legislature repealed the tax in exchange for higher vehicle fees and trucker payment of a diesel fuel tax. But that act was overturned months later in a voter referendum after opposition, led by AAA, linked the repeal to a tax increase on gasoline.

Related article: See "ATA Loses Round In Oregon Tax Challenge," 2/22/2002.