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Oregon House Votes To Raise Taxes And Fees For Roads

A gas tax increase to modernize Oregon roads has cleared a major speed bump in Salem.

The Oregon House approved the $300 million-a-year measure Wednesday. It would raise the state's gas tax by six cents a gallon.

Supporters say the revenue could create as many as 40,000 jobs in the next decade.

Democratic House Speaker Dave Hunt called the bill a "defining moment" for the 2009 legislature.

Dave Hunt: "This jobs and transportation package will be the largest economic stimulus for our state and our workers at a time when they critically need it — in this session —- and probably in any legislative session."

The bill passed the Oregon House 38 to 22. That's more than the three-fifths majority required to pass tax hikes.

It would also raise vehicle fees.

The measure now heads to the state Senate.

The gas tax increase in the bill would not kick in until 2011 or until the state has two consecutive quarters of economic growth, whichever comes first.

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