Portland, Ore., voters decide to continue local gas tax

May 24, 2024

Keith Goble


Voters in the city of Portland, Ore., this week decided overwhelmingly to renew a local gas tax.

The state’s largest city already claims the highest local gas tax in the Beaver State.

Portland voters decided Tuesday, May 21, to continue the dime tax used for road maintenance and safety. Measure 26-245 passed by a margin of 71% to 29%. The tax was originally approved in 2016 and renewed in 2020.

In the lead-up to the election, supporters said rejection of the gas tax continuation could have serious consequences for maintenance and safety services.

Passage of the measure authorizes the city to continue collection of the gas tax for another four years.

If the measure failed, the dime rate now collected was set to expire at the end of this year. At that time, the tax is estimated to have raised $150 million.

Measure 26-245 is estimated to raise another $70.5 million through 2028.

Following passage of the measure, the city of Portland posted online that “while we are thrilled with this outcome, we now look forward to working with the state legislature to provide additional critical transportation funding for state and local governments.”

Companion truck tax

The northwest Oregon locale also collects a heavy-vehicle use tax. The 2.6 % local tax is a companion to the local gas tax.

The eight-year-old tax collected on companies operating trucks exceeding 26,000 pounds had a 2024 sunset date.

Since enacted, the truck tax has raised more than $20 million. Revenue is used for street work and safety projects.

The Portland City Council voted earlier this year to extend collection of the tax through 2028. At that time, the tax is estimated to raise an additional $10 million.

Tax use

The taxes collected on cars and trucks are touted to help the city address road repairs.

Revenue from the city-level tax, however, is not applied solely for road projects. The same rule applies to the extension.

About one-third of the gas tax revenue, $23.5 million, is allotted for street paving. Another $23.5 million is earmarked for projects that include fixing potholes, street light and signal maintenance and basic safety improvements that include intersection safety improvements and traffic calming.

The remaining revenue will be used for other safety projects.

Truck tax revenue is allocated evenly for road and bridge needs and for operations and safety improvements.

Projects are required to be consistent with the city’s 2040 Freight Plan and on the Priority Freight Network. LL

More Land Line coverage of Oregon news is available.