New funding for Oregon roads

The governor signs a measure committing $300 million a year to repair roads and bridges.

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The $300-million-a-year measure is the biggest transportation spending measure in the state’s history.

New fees come first, however. Motorists will see the effects of the law in October, when higher vehicle registration fees kick in, and by January 2011, when a 6-cent-a-gallon gas tax goes into effect. Because the fees are eased in, it could take a year or more to see any additional pavement laid from money the bill generates.

But the final approval of House Bill 2001 shows massive political will to address a transportation system that has suffered from deferred maintenance and underinvestment for more than a decade. Most significantly, it will boost gas taxes for the first time since 1993, something that was considered a political third rail since voters rejected a gas tax increase in 1999.

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