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Portland officials decide not to raise tax on heavy trucks

November 29, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland officials have elected not to raise a temporary tax on heavy trucks, expecting to fall short of the city’s goal to collect $10 million through the tax by 2020.

The Portland City Council voted Wednesday to end its objective of the reaching the $10 million mark, deciding to keep the tax in place at its current rate, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported .

The city’s added surcharge to a state tax truckers pay was enacted in 2016. The size of the heavy truck surcharge was going to be adjusted each year to ensure $10 million was collected over four years.

Officials claimed at the time it would help balance the bill for road maintenance between cars and trucks, and to fund street improvements in freight corridors.

The revenue collected from the four-year tax is expected to fall short of the goal by about $2 million, Portland Bureau of Transportation officials said. The shortfall occurred because many truckers obtained exemptions and fewer businesses were eligible for the tax, city officials said.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said the decision was “a sensible compromise to reach the goals that the voters adopted with regard to this tax.”

Commissioner Amanda Fritz was the city’s lone dissenter on the issue, saying the change doesn’t meet what had been promised to voters. The city’s decision could damage the ability to ask voters to reauthorize the 10-cent gas tax in 2020.

“We’re not going to be able to pass it unless we make sure the vehicles that cause the most damage are paying their fair share,” Fritz said.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com

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