Oregon Transportation Commission Will Hear Tolling Recommendations Thursday

Contact: Dave Thompson, 503-860-8021

JOHN DAY — During its Aug. 16 meeting in John Day, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) will consider the recommendations of its tolling advisory committee and will provide direction to ODOT on preparation of an application to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to implement tolling.

In 2017, the Oregon Legislature directed the OTC to seek federal approval of a congestion pricing plan. To help guide the plan, the OTC formed the 25-member Portland Metro Area Value Pricing Policy Advisory Committee. In July, the committee submitted recommendations to the Commission. The recommendations include an initial tolling pilot program at two locations in the Portland Metro area:

  • All I-5 lanes between approximately Northeast Going Street/Alberta Street and Southwest Multnomah Boulevard, a stretch of about seven miles through the downtown Portland corridor.
  • On or near the Abernethy Bridge on Interstate 205.

Tolling could be used to both manage congestion and generate revenue to address highway bottlenecks.

The majority of the Policy Advisory Committee recommended implementation of the I-5 and I-205 projects as the first phase of a longer-term effort to consider pricing more of the two freeway corridors and potentially other Portland area freeways, including Interstate 84, Interstate 405, U.S. 26 and Oregon 217.

The Policy Advisory Committee recommendations also identified three priorities for mitigating potential impacts of any future tolling program:

  • Improved public transportation and other transportation options are essential strategies for equity and mobility
  • Special provisions for environmental justice populations, including low-income communities
  • Diversion strategies to minimize negative impacts

Details of those priorities would be determined in a subsequent planning phase after submission of the proposal to the federal government. Other details, including toll rates and times of day, also will be determined later.

Input provided by the OTC will help ODOT develop an application to FHWA. ODOT will present this application for the Commission’s approval November 16. By law the application must be submitted to FHWA by December 31, 2018.

The OTC will also provide direction on whether to separately develop a long-term study of congestion pricing on all Portland metro area freeways.

If the OTC chooses to go ahead with further analysis of congestion pricing on the region’s freeways, ODOT will develop an approach for implementation. This could include policy review, potential geographic scope, timing and estimates of resource needs such as staff, OTC oversight and other staffing needs.

All meeting materials are available at the OTC web site, https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Get-Involved/Pages/OTC_Main.aspx.

If sufficient bandwidth is available in John Day, the meeting will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/OregonDOT/live. Video will be available on the OTC website after the meeting.

Meetings of the OTC are open to the public and time will be available to hear public comments. Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities, and alternate formats of printed materials are available upon request. Please call (503) 986-3450 (or statewide relay 711) for accommodations.

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