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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Business Leaders To Hear Transportation Funding Update At Annual Summit

Mike Mozart
An increase in the state's gas tax would have been part of a transportation package that failed in the Oregon Legislature.

Business executives and lawmakers in Oregon are gathering Monday in Portland for an annual summit. One item on the agenda is how to move ahead with a transportation funding package.

An attempt to pass a measure to repair and expand highways and bridges fell short in the state legislature this year. That came after Democrats approved a separate bill that requires energy companies to lower the carbon footprint of the fuel they sell in Oregon.

Republicans balked at the idea of passing the clean fuels bill and a transportation package. They said the clean fuels bill will increase the cost of gasoline. And they didn't want to, in addition to that, approve an increase in the state's gas tax.

By the end of the session, the transportation package had gone nowhere. But business leaders, who had called it one of their big priorities for the session, still want something to happen.

Several lawmakers who tried to negotiate a deal on a transportation package this year will address the business summit. Top legislative leaders have said a new package probably won't emerge until 2017.