Legislature Holds Transportation Field Hearings

Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation pre-session hearing in Hermiston, Oregon.

Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation pre-session hearing in Hermiston, Oregon.

Contributed by: Mike McArthur, AOC Executive Director

June 29, 2016

Commissioners testify as Legislative Committee meets in Ontario and Hermiston

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation held hearings in Ontario and Hermiston the last week of June. Members of the committee attending in Ontario were Senators Beyer, Boquist, Edwards, Johnson, Monroe and Winters; Representatives, Bentz, Lively, McKeown, Olsen and Greg Smith. In Hermiston the panel was joined by Speaker Kotek and Representatives Smith-Warner and McLain. The co -Chairs are Senator Beyer and Representative McKeown.

The format for these meetings include a pre-meeting with invited elected officials and local ACT members, a formal hearing where testimony (often time limited) is received and a tour (organized by the Oregon Department of Transportation).

The question legislators asked repeatedly in both pre-meetings and at the hearings was “how much?” In other words, if there is a transportation package with increased revenue, how much are you and your constituents willing to pay? This question was difficult for those attending these meetings to answer. There was consensus that there is great need for increased maintenance and preservation as well as a considerable backlog of improvement projects.

AOC President and Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens and his Public Works Director, Tom Fellows, provided the legislators with information on how their county would spend new revenue that would be generated from a 2017 Transportation Package.

AOC calculates that it would take a nine cent gas tax increase just to address the backlog of maintenance and preservation – assuming counties received 30 percent new money in keeping with 50 (state) – 30 (county) – 20 (city) split.

Commissioners and Judges attending the meeting in Ontario:
Baker, Mark Bennett; Grant, Boyd Briitton; Malheur, Dan Joyce and Larry Wilson

Commissioners and Judges attending the meeting in Hermiston:
Deschutes, Tammy Baney; Gilliam, Mike Weimer; Morrow, Don Russell and Terry Tallman; Sherman, Gary Thompson; Umatilla, Bill Elfering and Larry Givens; Union, Mark Davidson and Steve McClure

Both meetings included representatives of OACES, including: Tom Fellows, Umatilla; Richard Moulton, Malheur; Doug Wright, Union; Jeff Smith, Baker; and Burke O’Brien, Morrow

The next Joint Committee meeting is scheduled for July 20th in Eugene.

For more information on future meeting dates and locations and for more information on a 2017 Transportation Package, please visit the AOC 2017 Transportation Package web page.

Related information:

Joint Transportation Committee Releases Schedule for Statewide Summer Tour

Washington County Urban Road Maintenance District