SALEM -- An effort to make people pay for the damage studded tires do to our roads is gaining traction in Salem.
Studded tires, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, do an estimated $40 to 50 million worth of damage to Oregon roads every year.
“Studded tires, because of the studs themselves, take chunks out of the road,” explained ODOT spokesman Dave Thompson. “It lessens the lifetime of the roadway surface, so we have to repave more often, which is very costly.”
As a result, two Oregon lawmakers are proposing several bills that would either impose a fee for using studs, for example $10 per tire, or would require drivers to buy a permit to be able to use the tires.
Some, like Portland driver Jeanne Miller, think the bills are fair and feel drivers who damage the roads should help pay to fix them.
“I think that maybe it’s a good idea and people wouldn't necessarily have studded tires that don’t need them,” said Miller.
But others argue they should not have to pay a fee for their safety.
“I probably would gripe about it if they give it to me and I had all the way to the Dalles,” said delivery driver Jim Harding.
Harding said he needs his studded tires to get through the Gorge during icy conditions in the winter.
Some tire companies like Nolan's Tire Factory in Gresham, which has sold studded tires for forty years, worry if one of these bills passes, it will be a big financial blow.
However, Nolan Calvin admits it's better than an outright ban.
“The opportunity to use the studded tire even if it’s a fee... it's better than not at all,” said Calvin.
All three bills head to the House Transportation Committee Wednesday.