AGENDA: Salem Area Mass Transit District to determine what to watch during legislative session

A Cherriots bus on State Street outside the Oregon Capitol (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

With the Legislature slated to convene next month for its 35-day session, the board that oversees the Salem Area Mass Transit District is preparing a list of items it’ll keep an eye on.

At its Thursday, Jan. 23, meeting, the board will vote on the district’s 2020 legislative agenda. At the top of the list is the “appropriate implementation” of the state’s landmark $5.3 billion transportation package passed by the Legislature in 2017.

A one-page draft of the district’s agenda posted online identifies the handling of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund, a new dedicated source of funding for public transportation created by the law, as a priority.

The transportation law created a statewide payroll tax that produces revenue for the fund. The agenda includes protecting “against efforts to reduce transit funding resulting from the new statewide transit payroll tax.”

Additionally, the agenda includes looking into opportunities to convert existing business energy tax credits into clean fuel credits to sell on the market. It also calls for the district to keep an eye on investments in electric vehicle transit infrastructure, the revived carbon-reduction bill, legislation over ridesharing services and what budget impacts current efforts to replace the Interstate 5 bridge might have.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Senator Hearing Room in Courthouse Square, 555 Court St. N.E. in Salem. 

Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.