The Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) and Oregon Association of County Engineers and Surveyors (OACES) have been busy providing testimony and participating in workgroups to inform the legislature and build consensus for County Road Department Priorities at the Capitol in Salem.
Three impactful county road department and public works bills AOC and OACES are advocating for, include:
- HB 2101: Codifying the STBG Fund Exchange Program
- SB 635: County Right of Way Permit Cost Recovery
- LC 1841: Abandoned Recreational Vehicle Disposal Program
AOC and OACES are actively pursuing these legislative priorities, while also monitoring and advocating on other bills and important issues impacting county road departments. Such issues as public contracting, environmental regulations, traffic safety, bridges, and road operations and maintenance funding. Below are more details on each bill and how you can get involved to help advocate for your county priorities:
HB 2101: Codifying the STBG Fund Exchange Program
The Joint Committee on Transportation (JCT) filed HB 2101 as a committee bill. The bill would codify the STBG Fund Exchange program and create flexibility within ODOT’s State Highway Fund allocations to realize the long-term sustainability of the program.
HB 2101 had its first public hearing on January 31, 2023. You can find OACES and AOC and county-submitted testimony [HERE] and view the hearing recording [HERE]. Thank you to all who made the time to speak on this issue and inform the legislature on OACES’ top priority. AOC is currently working with ODOT on amendment agreement language.
ODOT has not given official notice of the cancellation of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that governs the fund exchange program. However, ODOT has released the 2023 STBG Program funds, but has done so only as federal-aid dollars with no state fund exchange option. AOC and OACES will continue to engage ODOT and the legislature until an agreement is reached.
SB 635: County Right of Way Utility Permit Cost Recovery
Senator Lew Frederick pre-session filed SB 635. The bill would allow counties to charge reasonable cost recovery fees for utility work in the county right of way. This is a reintroduction of HB 3049 (2021). Senator Bill Hansell’s Office is currently hosting a weekly workgroup with counties and utilities to discuss utility concerns and possible fee-clarifying compromise amendments. AOC and OACES members have served a critical role in building consensus with utility providers. We expect a public hearing likely to be scheduled in early March.
LC 1841: Abandoned Recreational Vehicle Disposal Program
LC 1841 Creates an Abandoned Recreational Vehicle Disposal Revolving Account within the General Fund. The bill is a reintroduction of SB 466 (2021) formerly supported by AOC. An industry and agency partner workgroup led by the Oregon Tow Truck Association has worked through the 2021-22 interim, introducing the most current LC 1841 draft. Additional and final workgroup amendments are expected on LC 1841 soon along with the introduction of the bill.
How to Get Involved!
AOC and OACES will continue to post opportunities to submit testimony and advocate for public works priorities as our bills advance through the legislative process. You can access the AOC Transportation and Community Development Steering Committee bill tracker [HERE]. Click the “2023 Bill Tracker” button to access the weekly updates on AOC legislative priorities.
If your county road department or your board of county commissioners would like to engage on these or any other transportation-related bills or issues before the 2023 Legislative Assembly, please do not hesitate to reach out to AOC County Road Program Director Brian Worley or AOC Policy Analyst Jordan Cole for more information.
Contributed by: Jordan Cole | Transportation Policy Analyst and Brian Worley | County Roads Program Director