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Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT)

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Red semi truck parked on curb in front of white building with big windows.
In 2016 and 2020, Portland City Council approved a four-year Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT), collected on businesses delivering goods within city limits. Along with the voter-approved 10-cent gas tax, revenues go to PBOT’s Fixing Our Streets program, fund projects along priority freight routes.
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Background

In May 2016, Portland voters approved Measure 26-173, a new 10-cent per gallon gas tax for repairing streets. That same month, Portland City Council passed a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) on companies operating trucks over 13 tons. Together, the 10-cent gas tax and the HVUT fund PBOT’s Fixing Our Streets program.

HVUT rates are based on a percentage of the state weight mile tax. PBOT applies the same principles Oregon uses to ensure light and heavy vehicles pay a proportionate share, determining that the HVUT should bring in no more than 13% of all Fixing Our Streets dollars. This is why the percentage may fluctuate (see calculations by year below).

The HVUT is estimated to bring in roughly $11 million during the current cycle (2020-2023).

Council renewed the HVUT in 2020 and will decide whether to renew it again in 2024.


How the HVUT is calculated

Portland uses the Portland Business License to collect the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) on a percentage of the statewide weight mile tax. All businesses delivering goods in Portland are required to pay the HVUT. There is an appeals process for companies that can document extremely low use of city streets.

Here is how the HVUT has been calculated for every year since council first set the HVUT. Percentages fluctuate because the HVUT is capped in such a way that it brings in 13% of all Fixing Our Streets dollars.

HVUT CycleTax Years% of State Weight Mile Tax
12016-20192.8%
22020-20223%
220231.25%*
32024-20282.6%

*The reduction in 2023 was due to higher than anticipated truck taxes.


Who pays?

Here are estimates for annual cost in tiers from those paying the most to least, noting the annual and monthly costs (based on 3% of the state weight mile tax):

Tier% of all companiesAnnual costMonthly cost
1-203%$48,900$4,075
21-504%$14,100$1,175
51-1007%$5,000$417
101-50056%$770$64
501-71630%$100$8

Projects funded by the HVUT

The following projects were completed during the first cycle of Fixing Our Streets (2016-2019):

  • N Marine Drive - Repaving between Kelly Point Park and Leadbetter roads
  • N Lombard Street - Repaving near Ramsey Boulevard
  • N Going Street - Repaving near I-5 interchange
  • N Greeley Avenue - Operational improvements from Going Street to I-5 interchange
  • Guardrail work – citywide repair, new guardrails on NE Cornfoot Road (between 47th Avenue and Alderwood Road)
  • Bridge column safety citywide
  • NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard - Intelligent Transportation Systems Improvements from Columbia Boulevard to Tillamook Street
  • Freight Priority Program Safety & Operations Improvements 
  • NE Lombard Street and 11th Avenue railroad crossing – STUDY COMPLETE

The following projects were completed or are underway as part of the current cycle of Fixing Our Streets (2020-2024):

Completed

  • Columbia Boulevard / Lombard Street - Wayfinding project
  • N Lombard Street - Repaving between St Louis and St Johns avenues
  • Repaving N KillingsworthStreet north of Minnesota Avenue to Going Street (I-5 southbound ramp to Swan Island)  

In progress

  • Columbia Corridor Bridge Study - Feasibility studies
  • NE Columbia Boulevard (47th Avenue to Lombard Street) – Intelligent Transportation Systems , Phase 2 – Improvements to signal synchronization

Out to bid

  • NE 42nd Avenue Bridge replacement (Holman Street to Columbia Boulevard)
  • NE Cornfoot Road – Repaving from Airtrans Way to Alderwood Road

Grant awarded

  • Cornfoot Road Corridor Improvements, Phase 2 (planning and match)
  • Central Eastside Railroad Crossing Study
  • Burgard Bridge Replacement (local match for Bridge Investment Program Grant)

Next steps

PBOT is currently seeking city council approval for renewing the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) for another four years, through 2028. For more on the draft proposal to renew the 10-cent gas tax, visit our Fixing Our Streets DRAFT Proposal (2024-2028) page.

PBOT proposes allocating resources from the HVUT in the same manner as the 2020-2024 cycle, with funds split across the following categories to address needs along the Priority Freight Network:

Bridgework

  • Local match for state and federal grants for bridge rehabilitation or replacement
  • Critical repairs on damaged or restricted bridges, ensuring minimal disruption to the movement of goods

Road maintenance

  • Repaving on major freight routes and in freight districts, with a focus on preventative maintenance that saves money in the long-term by keeping roads in good condition
  • Maintenance, repair, and replacement of traffic signals and streetlights to ensure a state of good repair and ensure reliable and efficient freight movement

Operations and safety

  • Upgrades on the major freight network to improve safety and operations. This includes both low-cost projects and larger ones that leverage additional funding. Examples include Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) projects, truck signal priority, signal timing, reflective signal heads, improved signage and wayfinding, truck aprons, turn lanes, turn signals, and minor lane restriping.

This proposal is consistent with the 2040 Freight Plan. Funding and project lists are also reviewed by the Portland Freight Committee.