July 07, 2022

Analysis of Oregon’s Constitutional Restrictions on Transportation Funding

With the transportation sector rapidly shifting to electric vehicles, pressure is increasing in many states to reduce reliance on gas tax revenues as the primary source of highway funding. This impetus is particularly pronounced in Oregon, where the state’s reliance on gas taxes conflicts with the state’s ambitious climate goals. Unfortunately, Oregon’s constitution constrains the state’s authority to raise and spend motor vehicle-related revenues. GEI’s Building Bridges report provides a comprehensive analysis of article IX, section 3a of the Oregon Constitution and the restrictions it places on raising and using highway funds. The report explains how Oregon’s constitutional restrictions limit available pathways to raise revenue to advance equitable transportation decarbonization and respond to shifting transportation needs in Oregon. The report also provides a detailed legal analysis of the Oregon Supreme Court’s interpretations of the constitutional restrictions on and permissible uses of highway funds.

See the report here.