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Tina Kotek and Transportation
Debate over the Columbia River Crossing plagued the state

Editor's note: This is the second of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Tina Kotek earned her Masters degree in International Studies at the University of Washington, which made her a natural as Speaker of the House of Representatives to cochair the Oregon-China Sister State Committee, having the purpose to host and entertain delegations visiting from and to the provinces in China, and to promote exports to China and Chinese investments within Oregon. The Oregon China Sister State Relations Council president is Lan Jin. Lan is the principal of a business consultant company called Octaxias. Although the company boasts of helping thousands of business owners access the Chinese markets, only high-profile names are mentioned on its website. The company’s “Latest News” page includes Speaker Kotek pictured with Lan after arranging her trip to China in 2014.

Almost as soon as Kotek was selected Speaker, debate over the Columbia River Cross plagued the state. She was the legislative lead on the project accused of stonewalling the public from receiving honest answers when figures did not add up. She defended not listening to public comments over the controversy of the $10 billion price tag attached to a state-of-the-art bridge design. Her excuse was that the public views were wrong, but as time revealed, they were right. She states she wanted to make the project the best it could be, but when Washington State wouldn’t share in funding, Kotek supported a plan called the “Oregon Only CRC” plan.

In Kotek’s biography on the legislature website, she claims she led the way to a historic investment in the state's transportation infrastructure package -- HB 3055 -- a 10-year $5.3 billion bill that will increase gas taxes to 40 cents by 2024. However, she voted no on the bill explaining, “it does not include a requirement for ODOT to “right-size” projects...of congestion management. ...does not include community workforce or project labor requirements...” She does claim, “this bill adopts many provisions from my efforts,” even though she voted no.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Her biography goes on to say she made the first-ever statewide investment in public transit, and created a fund to help individuals purchase zero-emission vehicles. It is blatantly clear her shepherding of the 2017 Transportation Package has paved the way for tolls, used as congestion pricing, as well as the vehicle mile tax among other things.

The whole idea of zero emissions has been designed around inducement. Promoting electric vehicles through tax credits for vehicles purchases and recharging sites. She directed her caucus to pass HB 2165 along party lines authorizing electric companies to recover costs from retail consumers for infrastructure to support transportation electrification, and increases manufacturer's suggested retail price for hydrogen fuel-powered light-duty zero-emission vehicles to qualify for standard and Charge Ahead zero-emission and electric vehicle rebates.

On party voting lines, Kotek moved her caucus to pass electric vehicle tax credits and requires State Parks and Recreation Department to allow for installation of public electric vehicle charging stations in HB 2290

Speaker Kotek’s agenda to push electricity leaves an uncertainty if electric companies will be able to guarantee enough energy to supply the state continuously.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-03 17:03:58Last Update: 2021-09-03 17:11:32



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