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Voters OK school, public safety money but put brakes on road fee

EUGENE, Ore. - Voters appeared to have passed bonds to build a new school in Marcola and a new police and fire station in Albany on Tuesday.

But Lane County voters defeated a proposed $35 annual vehicle fee by a 2 to 1 margin.

Vote counts are not final until certified by county election officials.

Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich said, without the fee, the county will cut 21 jobs. As a result, county residents will see less maintenance on public roads.

Lane County maintinas over 1,400 miles of roads and 415 bridges, as well as traffic signals and storm drains.

Bozievich said the county will continue efforts to secure help from the state and federal government to maintain roads.

Bill Vaupel voted against the fee, proceeds of which would go to maintain county and city roads.

"II think that they were charging too much already," he said. "And $35 is quite a bit of money at one time. If they wanted to increase it a little bit at a time over time, that would have been a whole different story The economy's turning around, but it's not turned around yet. It's turning."

"I think it'd be better to increase the gas tax," Kevin Hyland said. Then the more you drive, the more you pay. I walk to work every day, and so I drive very infrequently."

But new Eugene resident David Miller said the fee increase is an investment that could help every driver on the road, regardless of how much they drive.

"The general condition of the roads is going to save you money in the long run in the maintenance of your vehicle," he said. "$35 is one alignment job, if not a lot less. So I think it'll be something that would benefit everybody.".

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