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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 Lawmakers Hit The Road To Examine Roads

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Oregon lawmakers will study several traffic congestion points in the Portland area, including along Interstates 5.

Oregon lawmakers are hitting the road Monday to get a first-hand look at the state's traffic chokepoints. It's part of an effort to develop a transportation funding package for a vote in next year's legislative session.

This summer, a 14-member legislative panel will hold public hearings and tour locations of potential bridge and highway improvements across the state.

This is the second attempt in recent years to pass a comprehensive transportation package in Salem. In 2015, lawmakers reached an impasse when Republicans said they wouldn't vote to hike gas taxes. That came after Democrats passed an unrelated bill that regulates the carbon content of vehicle fuel sold in Oregon. Republicans called it a hidden gas tax as it's expected to increase the price at the pump by as much as 19 cents per gallon, according to state estimates.

Some Republicans say they'll continue to hold out against a tax-funded road construction bill as long as the low carbon fuel standard remains in effect.

Monday's tour will take lawmakers to several traffic congestion points in the Portland area, including along Interstates 5, 84, and 205. After the tour, the panel will hear public testimony at the Southeast campus of Portland Community College.

Future hearings will be held in Ontario, Hermiston, Eugene, Medford, Newport, Hillsboro and Salem.

Hearing schedule:

June 13, 5 p.m.
Great Hall, Mount Tabor Building
Portland Community College SE Campus
2305 SE 82nd Ave, Portland

June 28, 5 p.m.
Four Rivers Cultural Center Theater
Treasure Valley Community College
676 College Blvd, Ontario

June 29, 2 p.m.
Hermiston High School
600 South First Street, Hermiston

July 20, 5 p.m.
Prince Lucien Campbell Hall Room 180
University of Oregon
1415 Kincaid Street, Eugene

August 18, 5:30 p.m.
Wille Hall, Coats Campus Center
Central Oregon Community College
2600 NW College Way, Bend

August 31, 5 p.m.
Jackson County Library
Medford Branch
205 S. Central Avenue, Medford

September 15, 5 p.m.
Embarcadero Hotel
1000 SE Bay Blvd, Newport

September 19, 5 p.m.
Shirley Huffman Auditorium
Hillsboro Civic Center
150 E. Main Street, Hillsboro

September Legislative Days
To Be Determined
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, Salem