Vehicle Registration Fee:  FAQ's

Question: What happens if the state passes a funding package?

  • Under the provisions of the ordinance, the County VRF will go into effect only if  the state Legislature fails to pass a 2017 transportation funding package that provides additional County revenue equal to or greater than $8.1 million annually – the County's share of revenue generated by a $30 VRF – in the first year.

Question: How much will the vehicle registration fee cost the average vehicle owner?

If implemented, the County VRF will be collected by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, in conjunction with state registration fees, starting July 1, 2018.

  • Passenger vehicle/light-duty truck:  $30/year
  • Motorcycle/Moped:  $17/year
  • Heavy-duty vehicles up to 26K lbs.:  $30/year
  • Heavy-duty vehicles over 26K lbs.: Exempt
  • Farm Vehicles: Exempt
  • Travel Trailer, Camper, Motor Home: Exempt
  • Disabled Veterans: Exempt
  • Special Interest/Racing Activity/Antique: Exempt
  • School/Government-owned: Exempt

Note: Exemptions are per state law

Question: How much money will a county vehicle

registration fee generate?

  • The $30 VRF will generate an estimated $13.5 million in revenue in the first year. This revenue will be split 60/40 between the County ($8.1 million) and the cities within the County ($5.4 million). The cities' portion will be divided based on population. Examples (estimates) are as follows:

    • Hillsboro - $1.6 million
    • Beaverton - $1.5 million
    • Tigard - $800,000
    • Tualatin - $390,000
    • Forest Grove - $380,000
    • Sherwood - $310,000
    • Cornelius - $190,000
    • King City - $60,000
    • Wilsonville - $40,000
    • Banks, Durham, North Plains, Portland - $30,000
    • Gaston - $10,000

Question:  What’s driving the funding shortfall?

  • Current road maintenance funding—primarily the gas tax—is not keeping up with increasing costs and the needs of an aging, expanding and increasingly complex road system—which includes pavement, bridges, culverts, traffic signals, lighting, signs and landscaping.

How is Pavement Condition Measured?

Question: How do you measure the condition of a road?

  • One of the most common measures is the Pavement Condition Index (PCI).  The PCI uses a number between 1 and 100 to describe pavement condition. Brand new roads have PCI’s of 100. The higher the PCI, the safer the road.

    The average pavement condition of County roads has fallen over 10 points in the past decade (on a 0-100 scale). It is projected to fall 20 additional points over the next 20 years. As pavement deteriorates more costly repairs or rehabilitation will be needed to restore roads to good and safe condition.

    To achieve and maintain pavement conditions on Washington County roads at a “good” level, an additional $4-5 million per year is needed.  Without this extra funding, pavement conditions could decline to the  “fair,” “poor” or “failed” levels which would threaten safety and lead to higher costs later.

Question: Doesn’t delaying road maintenance save money?

  • No! Poor road maintenance costs everyone more. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found that driving on bad roads costs Oregon motorists $495 million each year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $173 per motorist.

Question: Isn’t maintenance expensive?

  • While maintenance costs are increasing, timely preventive maintenance is cost effective and actually saves money. Spending more on preventive maintenance now is five to 10 times less expensive than reconstruction in the future.

Question: Where does the County get funds for road maintenance?

  • Almost all of the County's road maintenance funding comes from the state gas tax and vehicle fees and the County gas tax. The Urban Road Maintenance District (URMD) funds maintenance of neighborhood roads, bridges and culverts located in the urban unincorporated areas.

Question: How did the funding gap occur?

  • Though the number of vehicles is increasing, many of those vehicles are hybrid and electric cars.  This means that gas tax revenue is not keeping pace with growing road maintenance needs. At the same time, the cost of road, bridge and culvert maintenance has more than doubled since 1993.