As if the concurrent fiscal and economic crises weren't enough to handle on their own, many states also face the challenges posed by crumbling transportation infrastructure, the result of decades of neglect and underfunding. Recently, lawmakers in Oregon decided to find a way to address deteriorating bridges and overcrowded roadways, with the Legislature passing a $300 million transportation package that, by some estimates, will produce 40,000 new jobs over the next ten years.
Unfortunately, the financing mechanisms contained in the measure -- principally, a 6 cent increase in the gas tax scheduled for 2011 and increases in a variety of registration, title, and other fees -- will fall most heavily on low- and middle-income families, precisely those Oregonians bearing the brunt of the state's economic crisis.
A new report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy outlines one approach for easing the impact the transportation package will have on low-wage workers -- an increase in the state's version of the Earned Income Tax Credit. You can read the report in its entirety here.