The future of
Transportation Funding By John Watt In todayâ€™s world, infrastructure is something we all take for granted. Electricity, water, sewer and transportation are just parts of the overall infrastructure system. We depend on that infrastructure to be in place and up to certain standards all the time. What if that infrastructure was less reliable or gone completely? Our lifestyle would be completely different. In order to maintain a vital, healthy economy we must have an adequate infrastructure so those high expectations can be maintained. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a cost associated with the construction and maintenance of that effort. Oregonâ€™s transportation infrastructure is financed by dedicated highway trust funds at the state and federal level. No state income tax dollars are used to build or maintain our streets, roads or highways. You only pay for transportation projects if you use the system. The state collects fees and gas taxes to own and operate a vehicle. Those fees are what make up the revenues to fund the Oregon
June 3, 2011
Department of Transportation budget. The state also receives money from the federal government. It is important to note that the fees collected by ODOT are shared with cities and counties so they can maintain local roads and streets. As we look to the future of transportation funding we are seeing an uncertain future at best. The primary reason for these reduced revenues is much higher fuel efficiency standards in vehicles traveling on the road. Since 2001, the Oregon Legislature has realized that road funds have been diminishing. The Legislature created the Road User Fee Task Force. This task force recommended a plan to switch from a gas tax-based system to a vehicle miles traveled system. The recommendation was not politically favorable and has not been implemented. In the 2009 legislative session, the gas tax was increased by six cents. This was the first increase in state gas tax funding ODOT received since 1991. While the additional revenue has helped it is not enough to sustain the quality Oregonians expect for their roads and highway systems.
Moving Ahead is a publication of the Mail Tribune Advertising Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.