Lawmakers pass $5.3B plan to upgrade Oregon roads, transit

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By KRISTENA HANSENAssociated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A $5.3 billion plan to modernize Oregon's transportation and public transit systems over the next decade has passed the Oregon Legislature with bipartisan support after a final 22-7 vote in the state Senate on Thursday.

House Bill 2017 now heads to Gov. Kate Brown. It addresses five broad areas of concern throughout the state: traffic congestion, alternate roadway options, ongoing investments for maintenance, safety of existing infrastructure and accountability over public spending.

To pay for the projects, the bill increases gas taxes and vehicle title and registration fees and creates new taxes on employees' paychecks and automobile sales, a surcharge on bicycle sales as well as highway tolls in metro Portland. It also establishes a $12 million annual rebate program for those who buy eco-friendly cars.

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