Although the required state funds for replacing the Interstate 5 bridge were secured in the 2023 legislative session, much of OBI’s transportation policy work will continue to be driven by the bridge project through supporting federal grant applications and advocacy for the duration of this lengthy and complex process. Oregon faces a host of transportation challenges, including acute funding shortages for basic maintenance of the system, which is falling further behind each year, and uncertainty about how large, previously identified infrastructure projects will be funded. Tolling, authorized to fund some projects, now faces extensive public opposition. Freight users continue to bear a disproportionate cost burden of the transportation system—a long-term trend that has worsened each biennium. These are just a few of the challenges policymakers will be confronting in the 2025 transportation package, and OBI will be engaged in these conversations throughout 2024.
Infrastructure Improvements: OBI supports expanded and enhanced multimodal transportation infrastructure to improve both people and freight mobility to support statewide economic growth.
Interstate Bridge: OBI supports the collaboration with the state of Washington to replace the Interstate 5 bridge and will advocate for funding mechanisms that do not unfairly burden Oregon businesses.
HB 2017 Projects: OBI supports the completion of HB 2017 transportation package projects.
Alternative Fuel: OBI supports alternative vehicle infrastructure investment and incentive programs that support existing and new vehicle technologies.
Tolling: OBI supports tolling as long as revenue is and remains dedicated exclusively to identified projects with a clear nexus to where the toll is collected. Generalized tolling, sweeping funds, tolling on one project to benefit a separate project, or tolling with no ascertainable benefit to infrastructure and those paying the toll are not acceptable.
Public Transit: OBI supports revenue sources that fund critical public services that will not place a disproportionate burden on state or regional employers and employees. OBI opposes the creation of new funding mechanisms to subsidize public transit programs throughout the state unless funding is broad-based and tied to the benefits derived by those paying fees or taxes.
Highway Funds: OBI supports long-term, sustainable funding streams for the state’s roads, bridges, and resiliency needs. Revenue formulas must be commensurate with highway users’ impact on the system. Options could include increasing the fuels tax and vehicle fees, implementing vehicle miles traveled fees and tolling in a manner that equitably shares cost responsibility.