Portland, Ore., seeking local HVUT to pay for roadways

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer

Looking for a way for truckers to help pay for its roadways, the city of Portland, Ore., is proposing a four-year local heavy vehicle use tax, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The tax is in lieu of a diesel fuel tax.

Businesses that currently pay the Oregon weight-mile tax will be subject to the Portland Heavy Vehicle Use Tax if passed. No more than a 2.8 percent tax based on a business’s statewide weight-mile tax will be levied. Portland estimates a 2.8 percent rate will generate $2.5 million annually.

In the third year of the program, the city will assess money generated. If Portland exceeds its goal of $2.5 million, it may reduce the rate for the final two years of the program.

Portland is currently seeking a 10-cent tax on gasoline to fund street repairs and other transportation-related projects. Scheduled to be on the ballot in May, the fuel tax does not include a diesel tax. According to PBOT documents, the city opted out of a diesel tax in fear of heavy trucks driving past the city’s only truck stop.

The City of Portland calculated that 86.7 percent of additional revenue should come from light vehicles and 13.3 percent from heavy vehicles. Approximately $16 million in revenue is expected from the 10-cent gasoline tax, leaving the goal of $2.5 million for trucks.

The proposed plan can go into effect regardless of the outcome of the gas tax in May. Slated for a city council meeting on May 4, the proposal is not subject to a general population vote.

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Missouri requests exemption for vets seeking commercial learner's permit

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer

The Missouri Department of Revenue is attempting to make it easier for military veterans to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit. 

Current regulations require a driver to pass a general knowledge test before being issued a CLP. The Missouri Department of Revenue has requested an exemption from the knowledge test requirement for qualified veterans who participated in dedicated training in approved military programs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Wednesday on the Federal Register.

According to the Federal Register, Missouri’s goal “is to assist qualified veterans in obtaining employment when returning to the civilian workforce and that granting this exemption will assist veterans who have already been through extensive military training.”

The Missouri Department of Revenue contends qualified veterans who participated in the dedicated training in approved military programs have already received numerous hours of classroom training, one-on-one road training, and practical skills training that are essential for safe driving. 

The hours of training required by these military programs before certifying trainees to drive military vehicles is in excess of the minimum entry-level driver training required in FMCSA’s proposed rulemaking, the Missouri Department of Revenue said. 

The FMCSA is requesting public comment on the exemption application. Since the issue isn’t unique to Missouri, the FMCSA also requests public comment as to whether the exemption, if granted, should cover all state drivers’ licensing agencies. 

Comments, which must be received by May 20, may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Online at Regulations.Gov
  • Through the mail at Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001
  • By hand delivery or through a courier to West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
  • By fax at 1-202-493-2251. 

Each submission must include the Federal Docket Management System Number of FMCSA-2016-0130. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change to Regulations.Gov, including any personal information included in a comment.

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