Oregon lawmakers vote to eliminate weight-distance tax

SALEM, Ore. (July 26) — In an eleventh-hour decision, Oregon lawmakers approved a measure that will replace the state’s weight-distance tax with a diesel fuel tax.

The change went down to the wire, as the bill, which also includes a gas tax increase, failed to pass in a House vote last Thursday. It failed again Friday, but finally passed Friday night. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

The bill eliminates the weight-distance tax on trucks and replaces it with a 29-cent-per-gallon diesel tax.

On Saturday, the last day of the session, legislators voted to put a measure on the ballot that would amend the Oregon Constitution to require that the costs of maintaining roads be split fairly between trucks and passenger vehicles.

The original gas-tax bill passed by the House did not include the truck weight-distance provisions. After the Senate rewrote the bill to address the weight-distance tax, many in the House complained about the new version, making it difficult to get the three-fifths majority needed.

Part of the compromise worked out requires the diesel tax to be renewed by the Legislature after six years. If it’s not renewed, it will be replaced again with the weight-distance tax.

Truckers have been trying for years to get rid of the weight-distance tax because it is costly and cumbersome to administer.

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